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Full text of "Notes on a March from Zoháb, at the Foot of Zagros, along the Mountains to Khúzistán (Susiana), and from Thence Through the Province of Luristan to Kirmánsháh, in the Year 1836"

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( 26 ) 

II. — Notes on a March from Zohdb, at the foot of Zagros, along 
the mountains to Khuzistdn (Susiana), and from thence through 
the province of Luristan to Kirmdnshdh, in the year 1836. 
By Major Rawlins on, of the Bombay Army, serving in 
Persia. Communicated by Viscount Palmerston. 
[Read the 14th and 28th January, 1838.] 

Pashalik of Zohab. — Zohab is a district of considerable 
extent, lying at the foot of the ancient Zagros. It is bounded 
on the N.W. by the course of the river Diyalah, on the E. by 
the mountains, and on the S. by the stream of Holwan. It 
formed one of the ten pashaliks dependent upon Baghdad, 
until about thirty years ago, when Mohammed 'All Mirza, 
prince of Kirmanshah,* annexed it to the crown of Persia. At 
the treaty concluded between Persia and the Porte, in 1823, it 
was stipulated that the districts acquired by either party during 
the war should be respectively surrendered, and that the an- 
cient frontier-line should be restored, which had been established 
in the time of the Safavi monarchs. According to a subsequent 
treaty, Zohab ought certainly to have been given up to the Turk- 
ish authorities, but Persia had neither the will to render this act 
of justice, nor had the pasha of Baghdad the power to enforce it; 
and Zohab, although still claimed by the Porte, has thus remained 
to the present day in possession of the government of Kirmanshah. 

Zohab,, having been acquired in war, is khalisah, or crown 
land. It has been usually farmed by the government of Kir- 
manshah, at an annual rent of 8000 tomans (4000Z.), to the chief 
of the Guran tribe, whose hardy I'liyat inhabit the adjoining 
mountains, and are thus at all times ready to repel an attack of 
the 'Osmanlis. The amount of its revenues must depend, in a 
great measure, upon the value of rice and corn, its staple ar- 
ticles of produce ; but in years of plenty, when the price of these 
commodities is at the lowest possible rate, a considerable sur- 
plus will still remain in the hands of the lessee. The revenue 
system in this district is simple, and more favourable to the cul- 
tivators than in most parts of Persia. It is thought derogatory 
to the chief to take any part of the cultivation into his own im- 
mediate hands. He distributes grain to his dependents, and at 
the harvest receives as his share of the produce — of rice, two- 
thirds ; of corn, one-half. A greater share is always demanded 
from the cultivators of rice than of corn, in consequence of the 
water consumed in its irrigation, which is the property of the 
landlord or of government, and is rarely to be obtained without 
considerable expense and labour. 

The rice- grounds of Zohab are chiefly irrigated by an artificial 

* More commonly Kirman Shahan. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 9,7 

canal, brought from the Holwan river, a distance of about 10 
miles. The canal is said to have been an ancient work ; but was 
repaired and rendered available to its present purposes only 
about a hundred years ago, by the same pasM who subsequently 
built the town of Zohab. 

I was present for three years at Zohab, in the time of harvest, 
and the revenues accruing to the chief averaged 10,000* tomans 
annually, of which the following is a rough statement : — 

From produce of rice, 2000 kharwars,f at 2 tomans per khr. . 4000 
Do. wheat and barley, 2500 kharwdrs, at 1 t6mdn per khr. • 2500 

Rent of the karavanserai* of Sar Pul, which includes the transit- 
duty upon merchandise, and the profits arising from a monopoly 
of the sale of grain to the Kerbelai pilgrims . . . 1000 

Rent of the karavanserai' of Kasri-Shirin . . . 200 

Contract for the daroghah-gari J of Zohab ; the emoluments of 
this arising from the rent of shops in the Zohdb bazar, and 
several petty items of taxation .... 800 

Fees exacted from the I'liydt of Kurdistan, for permission to 
pasture their flocks during the winter in the grazing-grounds 
of Zohab . . . . . . .1000 

Growth of cotton, rent of mills, orchards, and melon-grounds, 

value of pasturage, &c. &c. . . . . .500 

Total, tomans, 10,000 

Under the Turkish rule Zohab yielded, with its dependencies, 
an annual sum of 30,000 tomans ; but it then included several 
fertile and extensive districts, which are now detached from it ; 
and there were also above £000 Ra'yats § resident upon the lands ; 
whereas at present this number is reduced to about 300 fa- 
milies; and the great proportion of the cultivation is in the 
hands of the Guran I'liyat, who, after sowing their grain in the 
spring, move up to their summer pastures among the mountains, 
and leave only a few labourers in the plains to get in the crops. 
The soil of Zohdb is naturally very rich ; but owing to the little 
care bestowed on its cultivation, a tenfold return is considered as 
good. Manure is never employed to fertilise the lands. After 
the production of a rice-crop the soil is allowed to lie fallow 
for several years, in order to recover its strength, or is only sown 
with a light grain. The interval between two rice-crops upon 
the same ground is never less than seven years; but even this is 
said to exhaust the soil. Wherever the extent of the lands will 
admit of it, an interval of fifteen years is allowed. 

The grain of Zohab is principally disposed of to Arab and 

* The toman now current in Persia is equal to 10s. of English money. 

•f The kharwar (literally the load for an ass) is equivalent to 653 lbs. 

I The daroghah-gari is the office of daroghah, or police-master. 

§ Properly ri'ayyat, i. e., non-muselman subjects; pronounced ra'yah in Turkey. 



28 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

Turkish traders from Baghdad. They buy it as it lies stacked 
upon the ground., and, conveying it to Baghdad upon mules and 
camels, without paying any export duty, realise a considerable 
profit. Scarcely a fifth part of the arable land in this district is 
now under cultivation; and certainly the revenues might be 
raised, with proper care, to ten times their present amount. 

The town of Zohab was built about a hundred years ago by a 
Turkish pasha, and the government continued to be hereditary 
in his family till the conquest of the pashalik by the Persians. The 
capital was surrounded by a mud wall, and may have at first con- 
tained about 1000 houses. From its frontier position, how- 
ever, it has been exposed to constant spoliation in the wars be- 
tween Turkey and Persia, and is now a mass of ruins, with 
scarcely 200 inhabited houses. There are about twenty families 
of Jews here, and the remainder are Kurds of the Sunni sect. 

The geography of the district of Zohab will be best understood 
by a reference to the accompanying map. At the northern 
extremity of the district of Zohab is the little plain of Semiram, 
a natural fastness of the most extraordinary strength, which is 
formed by a range of lofty and precipitous mountains, extending 
in a semicircle from the river Diyalah, here called the A'bi- 
Shirwan, and enclosing an area of about 8 miles in length, and 
4 in breadth. The A'bi-Shirwan is only fordable in this part 
of its course for a few months in the year ; and the passes of 
the mountain-barrier of Semiram may be defended by a hand- 
ful of men against any numbers that can be brought against them. 
Semiram is inhabited by detached tribes of Sharaf-Bayinis, 
Yezdan-Bakhshis,* and Arabs, who yield allegiance to Suleiman- 
iyah, or Zohab, as the chief of either place is for the time ena- 
bled to enforce his authority. The proper boundary, however, 
between Suleimaniyah and Zohab is the Shirwan river. The 
early part of the course of this river has been laid down most in- 
correctly in the maps hitherto published. It is usually believed 
to take its rise at Suleimaniyah, but this is erroneous. The real 
source of the Diyalah is at Sangur nearly 2 degrees of longi- 
tude E. of Suleimaniyah : it is crossed on the road be- 
tween Kirmanshah and Sihnah, and, receiving afterwards nu- 
merous petty streams from the mountains of Shahu and A'v- 
romman,-)- it becomes a considerable river. Its direction is here 
W., inclining to the N. Forcing its way among the mountains, 
it reaches the remarkable defile of Darnah, where are the ruins 
of a town and castle, which, on account of their very advantageous 
position, seem to have acquired some consequence as the strong- 
hold of the rulers of the surrounding country. Darnah is men- 

* Given by God. f Pomegranate-water. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 29 

tioned in the history of the Kurds* as one of the chief districts 
of Hoi wan ; and the pashas of Zohab retained up to the period 
of their extinction the title of Darnah beigf, or lord of Darnah. 
We may thus, with tolerable certainty, assign the Darna of 
Ptolemyf to this position ; and if the Diyalah represents the 
ancient Gyndes, which, after much reflection, I am inclined to 
believe, then the $ioi Aocpvicov of Herodotus J will refer to the same 
place. Before it enters the plain of Semiram the A'bi-Shirw^n 
receives, at Gundar, a considerable stream called the Chami 
zamak^n, which rises near Gahwarah, in the heart of the Guran 
country, and above the junction the Shir wan river is at all times 
fordable. It enters into the plain of Semiram by a tremendous 
gorge in the mountains, where there is no possibility of passing 
along its banks. In this plain it is joined from the right by the 
united streams of Zalm and Taj-rud, the former flowing from 
Suleimaniyah, and the latter from the plain of Shahri-zur. The 
confluence of these two streams takes place at a few miles' dis- 
tance from the A ; bi- Shirwan ; but the united arms do not equal 
the main river by one half. One of the few passes into the fastness 
of Semiram is along the banks of the river, where it emerges 
from the plain. The pathway, however, is in the bluff face of 
a precipice, and is only 2 or 3 feet in width, so that a loaded 
mule cannot pass it. Below this is the ford of Banah-khilan, 
on the high-road between Suleimaniyah and Kirmanshah. When 
I was there, at the end of May, the river had a breadth of about 
1 20 yards, and the ford was not practicable : during the summer 
and autumn, however, it can be crossed without much difficulty. 
The A'bi-Shirwan now flows in a south-westerly direction through 
an open country, receiving various petty streams, both from the 
right and left to Bifi-kudrah, where it was crossed by Rich; § and 
the lower part of its course to the Tigris is well known. It 
seems to have derived its title of Shirwan from a city of that 
name upon its banks, at the spot in the vicinity of Bin-kudrah, 
where Rich met with a remarkable dapah,[| or mound, still called 
Shfrw&nah. It only retains this title to the point of its junction 
with the Hoi wan river, near Khanikin. Below that it is called 
the Diyalah. The eastern branch of the river was named the 
Shirwan as long ago as the fourteenth century.^} Below the 
junction of the Hoi wan river it was at that time entitled the 
Tamarra* ; farther down it was called the Nahrawan ;** and at 
the point of its confluence with the Tigris, the Diyali. 

* Sharaf Namah, or Tarikhi-Akrad.— Pers. MS. 

f Ptol. lib. vi. chap. 1, p. 146 (39° 10' N. 86° K.). 

I Lib. i. c. 189, [ Axgviw is a conjectural emendation for Aetfixvwv.] 

§ Rich's Kurdistan, vol. ii. p. 273. || Pronounced tapah or tepeh. 

f See Nux-hatu-1 Kul&b.—Pers. MS. 

** The real Nahrawan (the N«§|3«M>f the campaigns of Heraclius) was the great 



30 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

But to return to Semiram. The name could not fail to call 
to my recollection the Assyrian queen, Semiramis, whom the 
ancients believed to have adorned Persia with many magnificent 
works of art. I therefore searched eagerly for ancient monu- 
ments ; and though I failed to discover any in the plain itself, yet 
across the river, at the distance of about 3 farsakhs, on the road 
to Suleim&nfyah, I heard of sculptures and statues which would 
well merit the attention of any future travellers in this country. 
The place is called Pai K'al'ah, the foot of the castle, or But 
Khanah, the idol temple. From the hills above Semiram, the 
plain of Shahri-zur, with its numerous villages, is distinctly visible, 
and on a clear day the town of Suleimaniyah may be seen bearing 
N. W., at the distance of about 50 miles. 

The western boundary of Semiram is formed by a prolonga- 
tion of the chain called Kara-tagh,* through which the river forces 
its way by a narrow and precipitous cleft ; to the south of the 
river the mountains rise up most abruptly and to a very consider- 
able elevation, probably about 5000 feet above the plain, and 
from hence the range stretches in a succession of rocky heights 
for about 50 miles in a southerly direction till it is lost in the 
sand-hills to the west of Zohab. These heights compose de- 
tached hill-forts of great strength : the three most considerable 
are named Sar-Khushk (the dry peak), Sar-Tak (the single or 
detached peak), and Bamu.j There are two roads from Semi- 
ram to Zohab ; the direct road leads across the range from the 
plain of Semiram into a hilly and richly-wooded valley named 
Pushti-kuh, which runs along upon the eastern face of Sar- 
Khushk, Sar-Tak, and Bamu, till it opens into the plain of 
Zohab : it is difficult, and measures 45 miles : the other, ascend- 
ing the Semiram mountains by the same pass, diverges at the 
summit to the right, and descends by a defile named the Tangi 
Mil J into the plain of Hershel, at the foot of Sar Khushk, upon 
its western face, and it here joins the high road from Suleimani- 
yah to Kirmanshah. Hershel is a well- watered plain, but it is 
little cultivated, as it is exposed to constant forays from the Jaf 
I'liydt of Sule'imaniyah, who have it in their power, at any time 
during the summer, to cross the river by the ford of Banah- 
khilan, destroy the crops, and carry off the cattle of the Persian 

canal derived from the Tigris at Samara ; but after this was destroyed, the Diyalah 
seems for a short time to have assumed the name. See Yakuti, Abu'ifeda, aud 
Hamdu-llah Mustaufi, author of the Nuz-hatu-1-kulub. 

* The black mountains. 

f All these names of hills in Kurdistan ending in u are contractions for kith, i: a 
hill/'— thu« ShaH, Dalahu, Daru, and Bamu, should be Shdh-kuh, Dalah-kiih, Da- 
rd-kuh, and Bamu-kuh. 

t Mil, in Kurd, signifies a defile ; Tangi Mil, therefore, is «•' the pass of the de- 
file." 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 31 

ra'yats. Adjoining to the plain of Hershel, at the foot of Sar-Tak, 
is the plain of Hurin. At this place are found the ruins of a city 
of great extent and apparently of the most remote antiquity : the 
foundations of the buildings are now alone visible, composed of 
huge unhewn masses of stone, and exhibiting walls of the most 
extraordinary thickness. I have never seen a similar style of 
building in Persia ; and connecting it with another circumstance, 
which I shall presently explain, I am inclined to believe Hurin 
to be a ruin of the Babylonian ages. The ignorant Kurds call 
the place Shahri-Fadak,* believing it to be the town of that 
name captured by Mohammed and bestowed upon Fatimah, and 
they attribute its demolition to 'Ali.f Behind the town, in a 
gorge of the mountains under the peak of Sar-Tak, is an old 
ruined fort, which must have been of great strength ; it is built 
on a detached mass of rock, and could only have been ascended 
by ropes or ladders : it is called Kal'ahi Gabr (the Gabr castle), 
and, apparently, is a work of a much later age than the town in 
the plain. 

To the S. of Hurin, at the distance of % farsakhs,J is the vil- 
lage of Sheikhan, so called from certain Sunni dervishes here 
interred, whose tombs, surmounted with their white cupolas, and 
embosomed in orchards, form a very picturesque and agreeable 
object. In the mountain gorge which contains the village is a 
tablet sculptured upon the face of the rock, exhibiting the same 
device as is often seen on the Babylonian cylinders. A figure, 
clothed in a short tunic and armed with a strung bow in his left 
hand, a dagger in his right, and an axe in his girdle, tramples 
upon a prostrate foe of pigmy dimensions, whilst another dimi- 
nutive figure kneels behind with his hands clasped, as if suppli- 
cating for mercy ; a quiver of arrows placed erect stands by the 
side of the victor king, and the tablet is closed with a cuneiform 
inscription, divided into three compartments of four lines each, 
and written perpendicularly in the complicated Babylonian cha- 
racter, which I had never before seen, except upon bricks and 
cylinders. The tablet is of miniature dimensions, being only % 
feet in height and 5 in breadth ; the execution is also rude, and 
the inscription, of which I have a copy, appears to be unfinished. 
I believe there is no relic of a similar nature existing in Persia, 
but it is chiefly interesting as tending to fix the era of the neigh- 
bouring town of Hurin, the identification of which, however, I 
confess myself quite at a loss to determine. From Sheikhan to 

* The real Shahri-Fadak was in Arabia, two days' journey from Medinah. 

f Kurdistan is full of traditions regarding 'Mi, but we know from history that 
he never crossed the Tigris but once to fight the battle of Nahrawdn. 

% The farsakh is a very uncertain measurement, but in this part of Persia it may 
be valued at 3| miles. 



32 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

Zohab the distance is 6 farsakhs ; the road recrosses the range 
by a very easy pass called Sar-Kal'ah, and from thence traverses 
an open country to Zohab. The distance from Semiram to 
Zohab by this route, through Hershel, Hurin, and Sheikhdn, is 
about 60 miles. 

Immediately overhanging the town of Zohab to the east is the 
fortress of Ban Zardah,* or, as it is sometimes called, Kalahi- 
Yezdijird. This is the stronghold of Holwan, to which Yezdi- 
jird, the last of the Sasanian kings, retreated after the capture of 
Ctesiphon by the Arabs, and it is a noble specimen of the labour 
which the monarchs of those ages bestowed upon their royal 
buildings. It is formed by a shoulder projecting westward from 
the mountain of Dalahu, girt upon three sides by an inaccessible 
scarp, and defended upon the other, where alone it admits of 
attack, by a wall and dry ditch of colossal dimensions, drawn 
right across from one scarp to the other, a distance of above 2 
miles : the wall is now in ruins, and the debris have fallen down 
into the ditch at its foot, but it still presents a line of defence of 
no ordinary description. The wall is flanked by bastions at re- 
gular intervals, and if an estimate may be formed from a part of 
it, which still preserves something of its original character, it 
would seem to have been about 50 feet in height and 20 in thick- 
ness; the edge of the scarp has also been faced all round with a 
wall of less dimensions. The hill itself is elevated very consi- 
derably above the plain of Zohab, perhaps 2000 feet ; the slope 
from the plain is most abrupt, and it is everywhere crowned by a 
scarp varying from 300 to 500 feet : the northern side of the hill 
is higher than the southern, and the table-land therefore of the 
fort, containing about 10 square miles, presents an inclined sur- 
face throughout. At the N.E. angle, where the scarp rises in a 
rocky ridge to its highest point and joins the mountain of Dalahu, 
there is a pass which conducts into the fort, the ascent rising 
gradually along the shoulder ; the whole way from the town of 
Zohab is easy enough, but the descent on the other side into the 
table-land of the fort is by a most precipitous and difficult gorge. 
A wall has been thrown across the jaws of the pass; towers have 
been erected on either side to support it, and somewhat lower 
down the defile, where the jutting rocks nearly meet, two strong 
castles have been built opposite each other, which command the 
narrow entrance, and render it quite secure against attack. Al- 
together, this fortress may be considered to have been perfectly 
impregnable in an age when artillery was unknown. In the 
midst of the gorge is the tomb of Baba Yadgar, the most holy 

* Ban, in Kurdish, signifies "above," and is very commonly applied to hills; 
it is, perhaps, the same word as the Scotch Ben. 



March from Zohab to Kkuzistdn. 33 

place among the Kurd mountains, to which I shall presently have 
again occasion to allude. Lower down there is a natural double 
cave in the rock, very difficult of access, which is called the Ha- 
rem-klranah of Shahr-banu, the daughter of Yezdijird, who after- 
wards became the wife of the Imam Hasan : it is a curious place, 
and looks like the grotto of a hermit. At the foot of the pass, 
where it opens upon the fort, is the little village of Zardah, sur- 
rounded by gardens which are watered by a delicious stream 
descending from the gorge. Near this there are the remains of 
two contiguous palaces, named the Diwan-khanah and Harem 
khanah* of Yezdijird : the one is a quadrangular building of 
about 100 yards square, of which the foundations alone remain, 
and these are now nearly hidden by the gardens of the village of 
Zardah ; the other is an enclosure of 350 paces in length by 150 
in breadth ; it contains the remains of numerous buildings, the 
principal of which is a low circular tower of solid masonry, which 
would seem as though intended for the base of a pavilion or 
some other temporary superstructure. The architecture of these 
buildings is in the same rude though massive style which has 
been described by Rich in his account of the ruins of Kasri- 
Shirin and Haush Kerek,f and which, indeed, characterises all 
the Sasanian edifices in this part of Persia. The wall of Ban- 
Zardah seems alone to have had more than ordinary pains be- 
stowed on it. 

To the W. of Zohab, and intervening between that plain and 
the A'bi-Shirwan, there is no inhabited place but the little ham- 
let of Kasri-Shirin. The country is broken into a sea of sand- 
hills, and there is very little ground that would admit of cultiva- 
tion ; it affords winter pasturage, however, to the Giiran and Sin- 
jabi tribes, and the I'liyat from Suleimaniyah, and Kurdistan also, 
bring down their cattle to graze here. Bin-kudrah, although on 
the left bank of the Shirwan, and thus properly belonging to 
Zohab, is considered a Turkish town, and pays its revenue to 
Baghdad. To the E., between Zohab and the mountains, the 
country is more fertile. The Holwdn river rises in the gorge of 
Rijab, on the western face of Zagros, about 20 miles E. of the 
town of Zohab. It bursts in a full stream from its source, and 
is swollen by many copious springs as it pursues its way for 8 
miles doAvn this romantic glen. The defile of Rijab is one of 
the most beautiful spots that I have seen in the East ; it is in 
general very narrow, scarcely 60 yards in width, closed in on 
either side by a line of tremendous precipices, and filled from one 
end to the other with gardens and orchards, through which the 

* The Diwan-khanah is the outer palace or hall of audience ; the Harem-khanah 
is the seraglio. 

f Rich's Kurdistan, vol. ii. p. 26 1. 
VOL. IX. t> 



34 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

stream tears its foaming way with the most impetuous force until 
it emerges into the plain below at the foot of the fort of Ban 
Zardah; the village of Rijab, containing about 100 houses, is 
situated in a little nook above the stream, where the glen widens 
into something like a bay : the inhabitants are all Sunnis, and 
they have a very holy and ancient mosque, supposed to have been 
built by 'Abdullah, the son of 'Omar. Rijab is, from its situa- 
tion, a place of great strength ; it formerly was included in Zo- 
hab, but now belongs, as private property, to the Guran chief. 
The peaches and figs which the gardens of Rijab produce are 
celebrated throughout Persia; and it is to the latter that Ya- 
kut* alludes when he says, (i the figs of Hoi wan are not to be 
equalled in the whole world." f The Hoi wan river, after it 
reaches the plain, is only fordable irr the autumn months. On its 
right bank is the plain of Zohab, upon its left the rich district of 
Bishiwah, which stretches about 2 farsakhs in extent to the foot 
of the gates of Zagros, and is also the private property of the 
Guran chief. There are three roads conducting from Zohab to 
Kirmanshah, the one across the plain of Bishiwah to the gates of 
Zagros, where it joins the high road from Baghdad, and ascends 
the pass of Taki-Girrah to the plain of Kirrind. This pass, 
the great thoroughfare of communication in all ages between 
Media and Babylonia,, is named in the maps Tac Ayacgui, or 
Lesotver. I am quite ignorant from whence such titles have been 
borrowed, for they are certainly neither known in the country nor 
have I met with them in any oriental author. By the geographers 
the pass is called 'Akabah-i-Holwan (the defile of Hoi wan), and 
among the Kurds, Gardanahi-Taki-Girrah (the pass of Taki- 
Girrah). The Taki-Girrah, which signifies " the arch holding 
the road/' is a solitary arch of solid masonry, built of immense 
blocks of white marble which is met with on the ascent of the 
mountain ; it is apparently very ancient, and the name and posi- 
tion suggest the idea of a toll-house for the transit-duty upon 
merchandise crossing the Median frontier ; it nearly assimilates, 
however, in situation to Madaristan, which is described by the 
orientals as one of the palaces of Bahram Gur,J and it may pos- 
sibly therefore have formed a part of it : it would also seem to 
denote the spot where Antiochus erected the body of the rebel 
Molon upon a cross. § 

The second road from Zohab conducts across the hill of 



* But Yakut is not the author of the Murasidu-1-ittila'. 

f See Murasidu-1-Ittila'.— Arab MS. 

t SeeMurasidu-1-ltt'ila' and A'tharu-1-Balad.— Arab MSS. This is the name 
that is given in the < Geographia Nubiensis,' p. 205, Madar and Asian (by an error 
of transcription for Maderastan, i being put for /). 

§ Polyb. libi v. c. 5. 



March from Zohab to Kh/mstdn. 35 

Zardah to Rijab, up the defile to Bi'wamj, a plain on the high 
table-land of Zagros, and from thence by Gahwarah, the resi- 
dence of the Guran chiefs and Mayidasht, to Kirmanshah. 
The third, more northerly, crosses the mountains behind Dalalm, 
and descends into the plain of Mayidasht by Biyama, Shnmar, 
and Takhti-Gah. I have travelled all the three routes, and laid 
them down accordingly in my map — the two last, however, are 
very difficult, and could never have been lines of general commu- 
nication. 

The climate of Zohab is most unhealthy, particularly in the 
autumn, after the rice -crops have been gathered in, and the 
noxious gases, which were exhausted in the vegetation, diffuse 
themselves in the surrounding atmosphere. The soil is every- 
where volcanic, and, as in the case of all the districts lying along 
the foot of this whole range of mountains, the waters appear to be 
either sulphureous or chalybeate. A spring in the gorge of Zardah 
affords the only good water in the neighbourhood, and whilst resi- 
dent at Zohab I always had a load of this water brought daily for 
my use. 

The town of Zohab has been usually considered the represen- 
tative of the city of Holwan — but this is incorrect. The real site 
of Holwan, one of the eight primeval cities of the world, was at 
Sar-Puli-Zohab, distant about 8 miles south of the modern 
town, and situated on the high road conducting from Baghdad to 
Kirmanshah. This is the Calah of Asshur,* and the Halah of 
the Israelitish captivity. y It gave to the surrounding district the 
name of Chalonitis, which we meet with in most of the ancient 
geographers. J Isidore of Charax particularises the city, under 
the name of Chala,§ and the Emperor Heraclius appears to 
allude to the same place as Kalchas.[| 

By the Syrians, who established a metropolitan see at this 
place soon after the institution of the Nestorian hierarchy of As- 
syria, in the third century of Christ, it was named indifferently 
Calah — Halah — and Holwan ;^[ to the Arabs and Persians it 
was alone known under the latter title. The etymological iden- 
tity is, I believe, the best claim which Holwan possesses to be 
considered the representative of the Calah of Asshur ; but, for 
its verification as the scene of the Samaritan captivity, there are 
many other curious and powerful reasons. We find in Strabo 
that this region along the skirts of Zagros was sometimes adjudged 

* Gen. x. 11. f 2 Kings xviii. 6 ; 1 Chron, v. 26. 

t Strabo, lib. xvi. c. 1 ; Plin. lib. vi, c. 27 ; Polyb. lib. v. c. 5 j Dionys. Per. v. 
1014, 

§ Geograph. Vet. Min. p. 5. 

|| Pasch. Chron. ed. Dindorf., vol. i. p. 730; Tacitus (Ann. lib. vi. c. 41) alludes 
to the same place under the name of Halus. 

^[ See Asseman. Bib. Orient, torn. iii. p. 346 ; torn. iv. p. 753. 

D 2 



36 Major Rawlin son's Notes on a 

to Media, and sometimes to Assyria,* and we are thus able to 
explain the dominion of Shalmaneser, the Assyrian king, over the 
cities of Media. Some of the Christian Arabs, in their histories, 
directly translate the Halah of the captivity by Holwan.f Jewish 
traditions abound in this part of the country, and David is still 
regarded by the tribes as their great tutelar prophet. If the Sa- 
maritan captives can be supposed to have retained to the present 
day any distinct individuality of character, perhaps the Kalhur 
tribe has the best claim to be regarded as their descendants. The 
Kalhurs, who are believed to have inhabited, from the remotest 
antiquity, these regions around Mount Zagros, preserve in their 
name the title of Calah. They state themselves to be descended 
from Roham,| or Nebuchadnezzar, the conqueror of the Jews; 
perhaps an obscure tradition of their real origin. They have 
many Jewish names amongst them, and, above all, their general 
physiognomy is strongly indicative of an Israelitish descent. The 
I'liyat of this tribe now mostly profess Mohammedanism ; but a 
part of them, together with the Gurans, who acknowledge them- 
selves to be an offset of the Kalhurs, and most of the other tribes 
of the neighbourhood, are still of the 'Alf-Ilahi persuasion — a 
faith which bears evident marks of Judaism, singularly amalga- 
mated with Sabaean, Christian, and Mohammedan legends. The 
tomb of Baba Yadg£r, in the pass of Zardah, is their holy place ; 
and this, at the time of the Arab invasion of Persia, was regarded 
as the abode of Elias.§ The 'Ali-Ilahis believe in a series of 
successive incarnations of the godhead, amounting to a thousand 
and one — Benjamin, Moses, Elias, David, Jesus Christ, 'All, and 
his tutor Salman, a joint development, the Imam Husein, and 
the Haft-tan (the seven bodies), are considered the chief of these 
incarnations : the Haft-tan were seven Pirs, or spiritual guides, 
who lived in the early ages of Islam, and each, worshipped as the 
Deity, is an object of adoration in some particular part of Kurdis- 
tan — Baba Yadgar was one of these. The whole of the incarna- 
tions are thus regarded as one and the same person, the bodily 
form of the Divine manifestation being alone changed ; but the 
most perfect development is supposed to have taken place in the 
persons of Benjamin, David, and 'All. 

The Spanish Jew, Benjamin of Tudela, seems to have consi- 
dered the whole of these 'Ali-Ilahis as Jews, and it is possible 
that in his time their faith may have been less corrupted. His 

* Strabo, pp. 524, 736, 745. 

f See Chron. Orient, translated by Abr. Echell, p. 25. 

+ Roham, who is considered by most oriental writers identical with Bukhtu-n- 
Nasr, was the son of Gudarz, and brother of Giv. He is sometimes, however, con- 
founded with Gudarz himself. See D'Herbelot in the titles Roham and Gudarz. 

§ See D'Herbelot in the titles Holwan and Zerib Bar Elia. 



March from Zohcih to KMzistan. 31 

mountains of Hhuphthon, where lie places a hundred synagogues, 
are evidently Zagros; the name being borrowed from the Haft- 
tan of the ' Ali-Ilahis ; and he states himself to have found some 
50,000 families of Jews in the neighbourhood. Am aria, also, 
where the false Messias, David Elroi, appeared, with whose story 
the English reader is now familiar, was certainly in the district of 
Holwan. I am not quite sure from whence Benjamin derived 
this name Amaria ; but there are some circumstances which lead 
me to believe the district of Holwan to have been called at one 
time 'Amraniyah ; and the geographical indications will suit no 
other place. I must suppress, however, any further remarks on 
this very interesting subject of the identification of Holwan with 
the Halah of the captivity, and proceed to give some account of 
the antiquities which still exist there. 

A long, narrow, rocky ridge extends from the mountain of 
Zagros westerly into the plain, bounding the district of Bishiwah 
to the S. Towards its western extremity, and 10 miles distant 
from the foot of Zagros, it is cleft by two narrow gorges about 
2 miles asunder ; the] most westerly of these, through which flows 
the river of Holwan, forms a sort of gigantic portal to the city. 
Here, upon either side of the river, are tablets sculptured on the 
rock, two on the right bank and one on the left ; the execution is 
most rude, and they are now nearly obliterated, yet sufficient is 
still visible of their design to denote with certainty a Sasanian 
origin. Upon rounding the gorge to the left, two other tablets 
are discovered, sculptured one over the other upon the face of the 
rock, which has been smoothed with the chisel for the purpose, 
to the height of about 50 feet. The lower is of the rudest pos- 
sible description, and represents two figures, one on horseback 
and the other on footj with a few lines of inscription on either 
side, in a character which is certainly Pehlevi, but which is so 
different from any of the other various alphabets of that language 
that I am acquainted with, and is, at the same time, so very nearly 
obliterated, that I have failed to decipher the name of the king in 
whose honour it doubtless was executed. 

The bas-relief above this Sasanian tablet is in a bold and well- 
executed style, and is immediately recognised, by one conversant 
with Persian antiquities, as a work of the Kayanian monarchs. 
It represents a figure in a short tunic and round cap, armed, with 
a shield upon his left arm, and a club resting upon the ground 
in his right, who tramples with his left foot upon a prostrate 
enemy ; a prisoner with his hands bound behind him, equal in 
stature to the victor king, stands in front of him, and in the back- 
ground are four naked figures kneeling in a suppliant posture, 
and of a less size, to represent the followers of the captive mo- 
narch i the platform upon which this group is disposed is sup- 



38 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

ported on the heads and hands of a row of pigmy figures, in the 
same manner as we see at the royal tombs of Persepolis. The 
face of the tablet has been much injured by the oozing of water 
from the rock, but the execution is good, and evidently of the 
same age as the sculptures of Bisuttin and Persepolis. 

The river issuing from the gorge appears to have bisected the 
town. On the right bank, at the distance of 1^ mile from the 
gorge, a wall has been thrown across to the rocky ridge, which on 
the northern side of the town forms a natural barrier of stupen- 
dous strength. This wall appears now only as a line of broken 
mounds, like the buildings of Nineveh and Babylon, and I con- 
clude it, therefore, to have been a work of the Chaldean ages. 
Just beyond the wall, at the north-western angle of the city, and 
situated above a fountain which issues from the foot of the rocky 
ridge, are the remains of a Sasanian building, which may have 
been a palace, or a fire-temple : the place is called Kara Bolak* 
(the black spring), from the sulphureous spring issuing at its foot. 
On the left bank of the river the wall is not to be traced ; but 
there are a vast assemblage of mounds which appear to mark the 
site of the principal edifices of the city. One of these is full 50 
feet in height, and in several places around it brickwork is ex- 
posed to view, of the peculiar character of the Babylonian build- 
ing. About 1 mile to the S.E. of this tapah,y and apparently 
beyond the limits of the city, are the remains of an edifice which 
I believe to have been a fire-temple of the Magi : the place is 
called Baghi-Minijah,J and a hot spring issues from the foot of 
a mound adjoining it. But the most curious monument of Hol- 
wan is found at the corner of the upper gorge, about 2 miles dis- 
tant from the sculptures that I have already described — this is a 
royal sepulchre excavated in the rock, precisely similar in cha- 
racter to the tombs of Persepolis. The face of the rock has been 
artificially scarped to the height of 70 feet, and at that elevation 
has been excavated a quadrangular recess, 6 feet deep, 8 feet 
high, and 30 wide ; in the centre of the recess is the opening into 
the tomb, which, as in the case of the sepulchres of Persepolis, 
appears to have been forcibly broken in ; — the interior is rude, 
containing on the left-hand side the place for the deposit of the 
dead, being a section of the cave divided off by a low partition 
about 2 feet high ; — there are niches, as usual, for lights, but no 
sculpture nor ornament of any kind. Outside are the remains 

* Bolak (thus spelt for Bulak, as in the name of Old Cairo, is probably the right 
spelling), though not in Meninski, is a Turki or Chaghatai word, as appears from 
Kversmann's Tatar Vocabulary, p. 12. F.S. 

t A Turkish word, " a mound or tumulus," written depeh and pronounced tepeh 
at Constantinople. F.S. 

t The garden of Mimjah, Mmijah is one of the fabulous heroines of the Shah- 
namah. 



March from Zohdb to Kkuzistdn. 3Q 

of two broken pillars, which have been formed out of the solid 
rock on either side of the entrance ; the base and a small piece of 
either shaft appear below, and the capitals adhere to the roof of 
the recess, the centre part of each column having been de- 
stroyed. Upon the smooth face of the rock, below the cave, is 
an unfinished tablet. The figure of a Mubid, or high-priest of 
the Magi, appears standing with one hand raised, in the act of 
benediction, and the other grasping a scroll, which I conclude to 
represent the sacred leaves of the Zand- A 'vesta ; he is clothed in 
his pontifical robes, and wears the square pointed cap, and 
lappets covering his mouth, which are described by Hyde as the 
most ancient dress of the priests of Zoroaster.* There is a vacant 
space in the tablet, apparently intended for the fire-altar, which 
we usually see sculptured, before the priest. This tomb is named 
the Dukkani-Daud, or David's shop; for the Jewish monarch is 
believed by the 'Ali-Ilahis to follow the calling of a smith : the 
broken shafts are called his anvils, and the part of the tomb which 
is divided off, as I have mentioned, by the low partition, is sup- 
posed to be a reservoir to contain the water which he uses to 
temper his metal. David is really believed by the 'Ali-Ilahis to 
dwell here, although invisible, and the smithy is consequently re- 
garded by them as a place of extreme sanctity. I never passed by 
the tomb without seeing the remains of a bleeding sacrifice, and 
the 'Ali-Ilahis, who come here on pilgrimage from all parts of 
Kurdistan, will prostrate themselves on the ground, and make the 
most profound reverence immediately that they come in sight of 
the holy spot. In connexion with the Samaritan captivity, I 
regard this superstitious veneration for David, and the offering of 
Kurbans, or sacrifices, at his supposed shrine, as a very curious 
subject. 

There are several other Sasanian ruins in this neighbourhood, 
but they do not merit particular attention. The Kal'ahi-Kuhnah, 
or old fort, about % miles S.E. of the Dukkani-Daud, resembles a 
large caravanserai, with a fortalice in the centre ; and about a 
farsakh beyond this, in the same direction, is a high mound called 
Tapahi Anushiravan, where the Kalhur chiefs have erected a 
modern fort, named Kal'ah Shahm,-)- which has now given its title 
to the entire district. 

The high-road from Baghdad to Kirmanshah passes through the 
gorge which contains the sculptured tablets, and subsequently tra- 
verses the whole extent of the ruins — so that they must have already 
been subjected to the observation of many travellers ; and it is 
thus most extraordinary that Zohab should have been allowed to 
the present day to disfigure our maps as the representative of 
Holwan. The bridge across the river, and the two caravanserais, 

* See Hyde de Rel, Vet Pers. p, 369. f The royal fort. 



40 Major Rawlin son's Notes on a 

which form the halting-place for travellers by this route, are in 
the middle of the ruins. The river is now generally named by 
the ignorant Kurds A'bi-Elwand, the EI wan of Rich; but this is 
a mere corruption from Holwan, and I have ventured, therefore,, to 
restore the true orthography. There can be no question, I must 
observe, at the same time, about Sar-Puli-Zohab being the real 
site of Holwan. The oriental itineraries and geographical no- 
tices are quite decisive upon this point, the ruins themselves 
bear certain evidence, and the spot is still known to some of the 
Kurds by the very title of Shahri- Holwan.* Holwan continued 
a great and populous town long after the Arab invasion of Persia, 
It was often partially destroyed in the conflicts of the Abbaside 
Khaliphate; but it again rose from its ruins, and it was not until 
the visit of the desolating hordes of Hulaku, in their descent upon 
Baghdad in a.d. 1258, that it received its final blow, and sank 
before the exterminating hand of war, never to be again inhabited. 
Having now given a description of Zohab, and the adjacent 
district, 1 proceed with a journal of my route from that place to 
Susiana. 

Feb. \Ath, 1836. — I left the caravanserai of Sar-Puli-Zohab, 
or simply Sar-Pul, as it is often called,, and marched with the 
Guran regiment JO miles to Deira, in a general direction of due 
S. Leaving the plain of Holwan, the road winds round the 
foot of a range of hills called Danawish, into a little valley wa- 
tered by the Deira river, and from thence follows the right bank 
of the stream into the Sahrai"- Deira (plain of Deira). This 
stream,, in general a mere brawling rivulet, had been swollen by 
the recent rains to a furious and rapid torrent. The bridges of 
woven boughs, which had been thrown across in several places, 
from bank to bank, to afford a passage in case the fords should 
be impracticable, had been all swept away by the rise of the 
waters, and I was obliged, therefore, to encamp the troops on the 
right bank of the river. The A'bi- Deira joins the Holwan 
river at a place called Mulla Ya'kub, about midway between Sar- 
Pul and Kasri-Shirin, and it is said to be spanned near this spot 
by a natural arch of rock, which is called Puli-Khuda, or God's 
bridge. In the narrow valley which opens into the plain of 
Deira are the winter pasture-grounds of the Kirmanshah stud. 
The spot was selected by Mohammed 'All Mirza, as well on 
account of its excellent herbage as for the security of the posi- 
tion shut in between the hills on one side, and the river on the 
other. In his time there were 500 brood mares kept in the 
Deira valley ; and the Kirmanshah horses were renowned through 
Persia. When I passed there were scarcely a hundred mares, 
and they were all of a very inferior description. The plain of 

* The city of Holwaa. 



March from Zohdh to Khuzistc'n. 41 

De'ira is about 4 miles in length, and 2 in breadth. It was for- 
merly included in the pashalik of Zohab ; but after the conquest 
of that district by the Persians it was purchased, together with 
the rich territory of Kal'ah Shahm by the Kalhur chiefs, from the 
Turkish owners, for a sum scarcely exceeding a single year's pro- 
duce of the lands. There are 150 resident Kalhur families at 
De'ira, Dih-Nishms (sitters in villages), as they are called; and 
it also affords kishlak, or winter quarters for 400 more, who are 
nomadic. Near the place of our encampment, along the skirts 
of the range of Danawish, were the ruins of an ancient town of 
considerable extent. The style of building, as far as it was visible 
in the foundations of the walls, appeared superior to the rude 
architecture of the Sasanian ages. Indeed there was so much 
of regularity in the construction of the buildings that I could not 
help fancying the ruins might possibly represent one of the towns 
which Alexander built in this vicinity, to command the passes, 
after he had succeeded in reducing the Cosssean mountaineers ; 
especially as De'ira stands upon one of the great lines of migra- 
tion of the I'liyat; and in the hands of a conqueror must therefore 
have held them in complete subjection .* I am not aware, how- 
ever, that it has been thought worthy of a place either in classical 
or oriental geography. 

February loth. — The river being still impassable, I was 
obliged to quit the high-road and follow up its right bank to the 
head of the De'ira plain, where with some difficulty I at length 
brought the troops across. At this point there is a recess exca- 
vated in the face of the rock, which is called by the Kurds, U'taki- 
Ferhad (the chamber of Ferhadf). It would appear as though 
intended for the outer chamber of a tomb, like the Dukkani- 
Daud ; but it has been left in such an unfinished state that one 
cannot be positive as to its purpose. 

From above De'ira I traversed by a difficult pass, called 
Surkhah Mil (the red pass), the lofty and abrupt range of Sun- 
bulah,J which bounds the plain of Gilan to the N.E. This is a 
very remarkable ridge of mountains, far exceeding in height all 
the other ranges, at the foot of the Zagros, in this vicinity, and 
exhibiting the same line of naked and precipitous crags, which 
appears with such imposing effect in the magnificent chain of 
Bisutun. The high-road from Zohab to Gilan conducts across 
these hills by a more open pass, called the Tangi-Shishrah (the 
six-road- defile), from its branching into a number of parallel 
pathways, about a farsakh to the N. of Surkhah Mil; but even 

* Diod. Sic. lib. xvii. c. 11. 

-r Most of the architectural curiosities in this part of the country are ascribed to 
Ferhad, the famous stone-cutter of Persian romance, who was enamoured of the beau- 
tiful Shirin, J Pronounced Sumbulah j n becoming m before b, — P. S, 



42 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

this track is not practicable to artillery ; and I suspect therefore 
that the ancient royal route, which led along the line that I am 
now describing, must have rounded the extreme point of Sun- 
bulah to the N. On the summit of the range there is a fine 
table-land, wooded with the dwarf oak, and bounded on either 
side with a barrier of rocky precipices, which is celebrated 
throughout the province for the abundance of wild animals that 
frequent it. This mountain, therefore, I have no scruple in 
identifying with the Sambulos of Tacitus,* near which, when 
Meherdates, under the auspices of Rome, invaded the Parthian 
kingdom, Gotarzes the Great was employed in offering sacrifices 
to the local deities, and among others to Hercules. 

The classical reader will remember the story of the temple of 
Hercules in this vicinity, when the god was wont, like the wild 
huntsman of the Hartz, to scour the hills and forests with an in- 
visible band, during the silent hours of night, and the priests, sal- 
lying forth at morn, collected the victims of the nocturnal chase. 
I doubt I must confess the application of the story to Hercules, as 
he was never regarded as a patron of the chase ; and the evidence, 
moreover, of his ever having been worshipped in Persia is most 
meagre and unsatisfactory; but to whomever the tradition may 
belong, there is every reason for believing, Sunbulah to be the 
scene referred to. 

Gotarzes, we are told by Tacitus, retreated from mount Sam- 
bulos, behind the river Corma, to collect his forces, and there 
await the attack of his enemy. Meherdates was in Adiabene, 
and I suspect, therefore, that Gotarzes moved along the high 
Median road to the Kara su,| the original name of which was pre- 
served in the town of Kirmesm, J afterwards built upon its banks. 
In this view, the engagement must have taken place in the plain 
between Kirmanshah and Bisutun; and I shall subsequently 
show the probability that Gotarzes immediately after the battle 
engraved a tablet and inscription at the latter place to commemo- 
rate his victory, of which the imperfect traces are still visible. 

Descending from the heights of Sunbulah, the road conducts 
for 10 miles in a south-easterly direction, along the plain of 
Gilan, to a ruined village of the same name. The plain of Gilan is 
situated between the hills of Sunbulah and A'narish. It is watered 
by a considerable stream, which joins the Holwan river, between 
Kasri-Shi'rin and Khanikm. There is much rice cultivated in 
this plain ; and in the winter season it is covered over its whole 
extent with encampments of the Kalhur Pliyat. The village of 

* Ann. Lib. xii. c. 13. f Black-water. 

I A city upon the banks of the Karasu, from the ruins of which arose Kirman- 
shah. This was not, however, another name for Kirmanshah, as is sometimes stated, 
but a distinct city, 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 43 

Gilan, which is situated at the southern extremity of the plain, 
on the lower road, conducting from Kirm&nshah to Baghdad, is 
now in ruins ; the Kalhur chiefs, who usually pass the winter in 
this district, residing in black goats 5 -hair tents, which differ only 
in size from the abodes of the other I'liyat. 

There are the remains of a considerable town at Gil an, similar 
in appearance to the ruins of Deira, and probably, therefore, of 
the same age. A very remarkable tapah is also found here, 
about 80 feet in height, and 300 paces in circumference. It is 
now crowned by a quadrangular fortification, with bastions at 
the corners, and at the foot of it is a large irregular fort ; both 
of which defences are the modern works of the Kalhur rulers. 
The large sun-dried bricks of the Babylonian building are found 
in numbers at the tapah of Gil an, an unquestionable evidence 
of its antiquity ; and I suspect it, therefore, to represent the site 
of a magnificent fire-temple of the magi, which, in the corrupted 
faith of the Arsacidan ages, being dedicated to some particular 
local divinity who was supposed to preside over the pleasures 
of the chase, became connected with the traditions that Tacitus 
improperly ascribed to Hercules. 

I must observe that there are several circumstances referring 
to this temple and its vicinity which have an evident reference 
to the ancient superstitions of the country. The name of Sun- 
bulah, which is applied to the mountains of the supposed scene 
of the nocturnal chase, signifies an ear of wheat ; and this was the 
symbol of the female principle of the earth's fecundity, which, 
together with the male generative power of the sun, formed the 
two great objects of adoration among the early nations of the 
East. In after-ages the worship of the two principles, under the 
names of Mithra, or the Sun, and Anaitis, or Venus, having un- 
dergone a great modification in its connexion with the theism of 
Zoroaster, became sometimes confounded ; but still the Sunbu- 
lah, or ear of corn, continued the peculiar characteristic of Venus, 
in her personification of the fecundity of the earth ; and thus we 
see it depicted on the coins of Nannaia (the mere Syrian trans- 
lation of the Persian Anahid, or Venus*), which the labours of 
our countrymen in Bactria have lately brought to light.| 

There is also a spring at the foot of the tapah surrounded with 
myrtle-bushes, which is held in great veneration. The sacred 
character of the myrtle (mtirt, as it is called in Persia, from 
which was borrowed the Greek [Mvpros) I believe to have origin- 
ated in the East. Its connexion with the worship of Venus is 
well known ; and it is a curious relic of the ancient observances, 

* Nani is the Syriac name for Venus. — See Hyde, p. 92, 
I See Journ. of the As, Soc. of Calcutta, vol. iii, p. 451, 



44 Major Rawlin son's Notes on a 

that at the present day, wherever the myrtle -bush is found among 
the Kurdish mountains (and it is very rare), a sort of mystic re- 
verence is attached to the spot, which the people are altogether 
unable to explain. 

From the name of Sunbulah and the myrtle-spring, one would 
be inclined to believe this to have been a fire-temple, peculiarly 
dedicated to Anahid, or Venus ; and at the same time, perhaps, 
the stories of the nocturnal chase may be explained, when we 
consider that the Grecian Diana, to whom the tradition will more 
properly apply, has been almost invariably confounded with the 
Persian Anaitis, apparently from some resemblance between the 
Persian rites in their worship of the principle of fecundity, and 
the Grecian adoration of Diana in her character of Ilithyia, pre- 
siding over the labours of women. 

I was met by the chief of the Kalhur tribe at some distance 
from Gildn, and conducted to his camp, where, surrounded by 
his relatives and followers, he held his little feudal court, in true 
I'liyat fashion. The Kalhurs are acknowledged to be one of the 
most ancient, if not the most ancient, of the tribes of Kurdistan. 
They number about £0,000 families, of which one-half are 
scattered over different parts of Persia, and the remainder still 
retain their ancient seats around Mount Zagros. These Kirman- 
shah Kalhurs are again divided into two great branches, the 
Shah-bazis and Mansuris, the former numbering 8000, and the 
latter 2000 families. 

The Shah-bazi Kalhurs possess the whole extent of country 
from Mahidasht, near Kirm^nshah, to the Turkish frontier at 
Mendalli.* The Mansuri have rather a limited country, south 
of Gil an, which I shall presently describe. 

Gilan has been laid down by Major Rennell, as the repre- 
sentative of the Boeotian colony of Celonae, and has been adopted 
as such without farther discussion, in all subsequent maps ; but 
this I believe to be incorrect ; for the march of Alexander on 
Ecbatana, which suggested the verification, should be drawn 
from Susa instead of from Opis, as Major Rennell supposed ; 
and it will be found upon this line that ' Celonae was much too 
near to Susa to coincide with the position of Gilan. Neither 
does the route across Mount Zagros by Gilan appear ever to 
have been generally followed. The passes between Gilan and 
Harun-abad are very difficult; and the intervening country is 
very sparingly furnished Avith supplies ; so that, had the march 
of Alexander commenced from Opis, he would certainly have 
followed the high-road by the gates of Zagros rather than this 
difficult and barren track. I find a solitary mention of Gilan 
* Mcndeli-Khanah in the * Jihan-numa,' p, 466. 1«\S. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 45 

in oriental geography* as the source of the left branch of the 
Hoi wan river ; and I conclude it, therefore, to have been a place 
of no consequence, since the establishment of Mohammedanism. 

February l6^/z.- — I left the Kalhur head- quarters, and made a 
long march of 8 farsakhs to Zarnah. The direct road from 
Gilan to the Luristan frontier passes over some high table- 
land, called Chillah ; but, as this line was reported to be blocked 
up by the snow, I took the more circuitous route of the plain of 
I 'wan. The road which I followed led from Gilan into a narrow 
valley between the mountains, called Miyan-dar (or mid-vale), 
which it pursued for 20 miles into the plain of Fwan. This glen 
was thickly wooded with the bellut, or dwarf-oak; and I found 
the trees here of a larger size than 1 have met with in any part 
of Persia. The herbage beneath them was of the richest and 
most plentiful description ; and from this circumstance, to- 
gether with its warm and sheltered position, the vale of Miyan- 
dar forms a favourite winter residence for the Kalhur Fliy&t. 
Every little glade in the oak-forest was filled w T ith their black 
tents ; and their herds and flocks were grazing almost from one 
extremity of the valley to the other. The direction of the road 
through the valley was nearly S. On emerging into the plain of 
Fwan, the road struck across a barren track for 10 miles S. 20° E., 
to the village of Zarnah. 

At Zarnah are found the ruins of a large city. There is a 
tapah, which I conceive to mark the site of the citadel, little 
inferior in size to the one at Gilan ; and the foundations of build- 
ings, now nearly levelled with the surface of the ground, extend 
over a space of perhaps 5 miles in circumference. Three or 
four detached buildings, in a state of less complete ruin than the 
rest, are met with in the vicinity of the tapah. They consist of 
the mass of narrow-vaulted passages, which appear to have con- 
stituted the places of abode in the era of the Sasanian kings ; 
and the style of building being identical with that of the ruins 
at Ban Zardah and Kasri-Shi'ri'n, I have no hesitation in assign- 
ing them to the same epoch. The tapah, however, and the 
general mass of ruins, are certainly far more ancient. In the one 
are found the immense sun-dried bricks of the Kayanian age; 
and the massive character of the other indicates an era of the 
most remote antiquity. Fwan is distant ft farsakhs S. 10° W. of 
Zarnah, at the extreme point of the plain ; and the intervening- 
country is rich and fertile, well w T atered, and almost entirely under 
cultivation. Fwan forms the head- quarters of the Mansuri 
Kalhurs ; but it is now only a small village ; and, although the 
name signifies a palace, and would thus seem to denote an ancient 

* See Nuz-hatu-1-Kulub.— Pers. MS. 



46 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

site, it does not possess., as far as I can learn, any ruins or other 
indications of former consequence. The Kalhur Fliyat of the 
plain of I Van are all nomadic,, with the exception of a few 
families resident at Zarnah and I 'wan. They pass the winter 
in the plain, and move up during the summer to the yeilaks 
(summer residences) of the surrounding mountains. A stream, 
named the Gangir, rises in the lofty mountain of Manisht, behind 
Fwan, and, flowing past the village, plentifully irrigates the 
extensive plain. Zarnah is about 2 miles distant from its right 
bank. From this point it diverges to the W., and, passing be- 
tween the ranges of Anarish and Sarazur, it flows on in a rapid 
and impetuous torrent to Saumar, and from thence to Mendalli, 
where it is divided into a multitude of petty streams, and is 
totally absorbed in the irrigation of the rice-fields and date -groves. 
This stream I was at one time inclined to believe the represen- 
tative of the ancient Gyndes ; but a stricter scrutiny has obliged 
me to concede the point in favour of the Diyalah. The circum- 
stances which seemed to lend a colour to the identification were 
the similarity of the names of Gangi'r and Gyndes, the application 
of Manisht to the Matienian mountains of Herodotus,* of the 
plain of Zarnah to the expression, $ia Aaqveoov (the letters D and 
Z being used indifferently by the Kurds j); and finally the coin- 
cidence of its exhaustion at Mendalli with the labour of Cyrus, 
which divided it into 180 channels. The reasons that have in- 
duced me to decide against it are, that the Gangir could never 
have been a navigable stream ; that its direction, to all appear- 
ance, would lead it to disembogue into the Diyalah, and not into 
the Tigris, if allowed to pursue its "natural course ; that it would 
not thus require to be crossed on the road from Sardis to Susa ; 
that Cyrus would have had no occasion whatever to pass through 
Mendalli, in his transit from the Atropatenian Ecbatana to 
Babylon ; and, lastly, that were the Gangir to be identified with 
the Gyndes, the broad and rapid stream of the Diyalah would be 
left without a representative. 

The series of valleys which extend along the great chain of 
Zagros to the confines of Susiana^ and are divided by a line of 
parallel ridges from the plains of Assyria, form one of the least- 
known, and at the same time one of the most interesting countries 
of the East. Here was the original seat of the Elamites, when 
they migrated from Babylon ; and from hence they spread their 
conquests over Susiana, and the adjoining districts to the east- 
ward, which thus assumed the title of Elymais. The Elymaeans, 
are distinctly specified by Strabo, in numerous passages, as in- 

* Book i. chap. 189. 

f Probably z is substituted for dh by the Kurds, not for a radical d: dhal (dh) 
and dhdd (dh) are pronounced by genuine Arabs as our th in the, thou, that. — F.S. 



March from Zohdb to KMzistdn. 47 

habiting along Mount Zagros,, on the southern confines of Media,, 
and overhanging Babylonia and Susiana. The most ancient name 
of the country appears to have been the plain of Arioch^* from 
whence the king of the Elymaeans came to the assistance of the 
Assyrian monarch at Nineveh. His capital I believe to have 
been the very city of Zarnah, the ruins of which I have just de- 
scribed ; for I have discovered that as late as the thirteenth cen- 
tury of Christ it actually retained the name of Ariyuhan.f I also 
suspect that this same place represents the Hara of the captivity^ 
which must certainly be looked for in this vicinity ; and further, 
there can be no doubt that it is likewise identical with the Aarian 
of Benjamin of Tudela, where he states himself to have found 
20,000 families of Jews. § Before the age of Alexander the 
name of Arioch appears to have given way to that of Sabad, in 
the plural Sabadan ; and with the territorial prefix of Mali, a 
country, Mah Sabad, and M ah- Sabadan. This, then, is the ter- 
ritory which is described by Strabo under the title of Massa- 
batice, as one of the great divisions of Elymaea, intervening be- 
tween Susiana and the districts around Mount Zagros,j| which 
is named by Pliny, Mesobatene, a district under Mount Cam- 
balidos (probably the Samhulos of Tacitus), watered by the river 
Eulaeus, before it descends into the plains of Susiana, ^[ of which 
the inhabitants are called by Dionysius, Messabata?,** and by 
Ptolemy, Sambata? ; jf and, lastly, which is referred to by Dio- 
dorus in his account of Alexander's march from Susa, under the 
designation of Sambana.*|;| At the time of the conquest of 
Persia, by Ardeshir Babegan, I find in a curious work a transla- 
tion of a Pehlevi chronicle, §§ that the province was called Mah 
Sabadan, the country of Sabadan, in the same way as are also 
mentioned Mah Nihawand and Mah Bastam, the countries of 
Nihawand and Bastam ; and it is of much importance to be thus 
able to determine the true ancient signification, for the Arabs 
contracted the two words into Masabadhan (changing D into DH, 
according to the genius of the language), and pretended to refer 
the etymology to an epithet applying to the moon.j|j| Bearing in 
mind that in the ancient language of Persia the t and d were used 

* Judith, i. 6. 

f See Mu'jamu-1-Buldan and Murasidu-1-Ittila. — Arab. MSS. 

t I Chron. v. 26. 

§ The Jrhjithan of Yakut, from whence a river flowed to Mendalli, or Bandi- 
Najm, as it was anciently called, can only represent Zarnah or Vwdn ; and, as there 
are no ruins at the one, I conclude in favour of the other. 

|| Strabo, pp. 524, 725. *[ Pliny, book vi. c. 27. 

** Dionys. Perieg. verse 1014. f f Ptol/book vi. c. 1. 

XX Diod. Sic. book xvii. chap. 110. 

§§ Translation of Ibn Mukaffa' in the Tarikhi-Tabaristan. — Pers. MS. 

f||| Murasid-u\-Ittil»a'. — Arab. MS. Mah in Persian signifies the moon as well as 
a country; and Yakut adopted the former meaning. 



48 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

indifferently, that the addition of the cognate letter m before b is 
agreeable to the universal genius of orthography ; and that the 
territorial prefix of Mah was sometimes employed and sometimes 
dropped, we shall be able to assure ourselves of the identity of all 
these names with as much satisfaction as we observe the exact 
accordance of their geographical indications. 

The name of Masabadhan* will be familiar to the orientalist,, 
for it is of most frequent occurrence in all the Arabian historians 
and geographers, and though it is now lost, there can be no diffi- 
culty whatever in defining the exact territory to which it applied. 
The district of Mah Sabadan appears to have commenced from 
the plain of Twan, and to have extended along the face of the 
great mountains to the confines of Susiana. The route which I 
am now describing through this country, I may also observe, was 
a great line of communication in antiquity. It is described by 
Diodorus as (< a royal road, conducting from Susiana into Media 
along the mountains, exposed to the heat, so circuitous as to ex- 
tend the journey to nearly 40 marches ; but in excellent order 
and well supplied with provisions,' 1 j" an account which is minutely 
correct and cannot possibly be mistaken : it is the route which 
the same author has laid down in detailing the march of Alexan- 
der from Susa to Ecbatana^ and his intermediate stations are all 
to be identified ; it is again mentioned by Strabo as a great line 
of communication, traversing Massabatice,J and leading into Su- 
siana from the districts around Mount Zagros ; and finally, Pliny 
also refers to it when he says, " that the most open and commo- 
dious passage from Susa, conducting into Bactria," (used in a 
general sense for the E. of Persia,) " lay through the province of 
Mesobatene."§ And we are able without any difficulty to ex- 
plain the reason of this circuitous line of communication; for 
although in modern days, when there is no incumbrance to an 
army but the artillery carriages, strongly and massively con- 
structed, several of the direct passes of the mountain-barrier of 
Zagros are to be traversed with difficulty ; yet it - was very dif- 
ferent in an age when chariots formed a necessary accompaniment 
to an army, both for the services of war and the peaceful pageant 
of the king. In marching from Susa with wheeled carriages of 
that description, the direct line to Kirmanshah, up the valley of 
the Kerkhah river, or to Khorram-£bad, along the course of the 
Kashghan,|| would have been both equally impracticable, and 
there would have been no shorter route conducting into Media 

* There has been great confusion in the orthography of this word owing to the 
misplacing the diacritical points. See Reiske's AbiilFeda, vol. ii. p. 641. Abul- 
feda's Geography determines the true orthography. 

f Diod. Sic, book xix. chap. 2. J Strabo, p. 725. § Book vi. c. 27. 

|| The name of this river in the Nuz-hatu-1-Kulub is written Kazhgf. 



March from Zohdh io Khuzistdn. 49 

than the road along the plains of Mali Sabadan, at the foot of the 
great range to the gates of Zagros, where a single pass led across 
the mountain-barrier into the high table-land of Kirrind. 

I now proceed with my route : — 

February 17th. — I made to-day a very long and fatiguing 
march of 1 1 farsakhs from Zarnah to the plain of Chardawer,* 
no single I'liyat encampment or other place from which supplies 
might be procured occurring between the two points. A lofty 
and extensive range of mountains,, upon which the snow lay 
about a foot deep, intervenes between the plains of I 'wan 
and A'sman-abad. We crossed this from Zarnah in a direction 
nearly E., and on the descent of the mountains rejoined the high 
road from Gilan, which had traversed the elevated table-land of 
Chilian, in a S.E. direction from that place : the Sahrai-A'sma- 
nabad is about 10 miles in length and 4 in breadth. It belongs 
to the Mansuri Kalhur ; but, as the plain of I 'wan contains more 
arable land than the limited number of the tribe can cultivate, 
and A'smanahad, being more elevated, is less favourable to hus- 
bandry, it is made use of by them only as a Yeilak, or summer 
pasturage. From A'smanabad to Chardawer there are two roads; 
the one following the course of a petty stream which waters both 
these plains, the other through a richly- wooded glade among the 
hills; the former, the high road, is the nearest and the best; I 
preferred, however, the latter, as I feared that the troops might 
not be able to reach Chardawer before night ; and, in case of 
being obliged to bivouac, the sheltered position of the wooded 
valley would be far preferable to the exposure of the snowy 
plain. It turned out as I had conjectured. I contrived myself 
with a few horsemen to reach Chardawer as it was growing dark ; 
the troops, being overtaken by night, encamped in the glade. The 
plains of A'smanabad and Chardawer form the frontier districts 
of Kirmanshah and Luristan. 

Luristan is divided into two provinces, Luri-Buzurg and Luri- 
Kuchuk, the greater and the less Luristan ; the former is the 
mountainous country of the Bakhtiyaris, stretching from the 
frontiers of Pars, westward, to the river of Dizful ; the latter is 
situated between that river and the plains of Assyria, being 
bounded to the N. and S. by Kirmanshah and Susiana. 

This province of Luri-Kuchuk is again divided into two dis- 
tricts, Pi'sh-kuh and Pushti-kuh, the country before and behind 
the mountains, referring, of course, to the great chain of Zagros ; 
and Pashti-kuh thus represents the Masabadan of the geogra- 
phers,! except that perhaps at present its northern frontier is 

* Properly Chahdr-daur (surrounded on four sides), but always pronounced Char- 
dawer. 
f The name of Masabadan is now unknown in the country. 
VOL. IX. E 



50 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

somewhat curtailed. I entered this territory of Pushti-kuh at 
Chardawer, a plain stretching N.W. and S.E. to an extent of 
about 12 miles in length and 5 in breadth, and alighted at the 
tent of Jemshid Beg,, the head of a tribe of Khizil* Kurds,, who 
have been long located at Chardawer and incorporated into the 
extensive tribe of Faili. I was much pleased with the frank and 
open demeanour of my host, so strikingly at variance with the 
mean and cringing courtesy of the Persians, and even, though in 
a less degree, of the Kirmanshah Kurds. He welcomed me to 
his tent with every evidence of disinterested kindness, and seemed 
to tax his powers to the utmost to do honour to his Firing! guest. 
These black goats'-hair tents are of all sizes, from the petty cabin 
of the ra'yat to the spacious and commodious abode of the H&- 
kim. The size of the tent is computed according to the number 
of poles, which often extend to 10 or 12, at the distance of about 
L Z0 feet from each other. A large apartment is thus formed, 
which is divided into a number of different chambers by means of 
matting ; and the Diwan-Khanah, Anderun,-j- place for servants, 
kitchen, stable, and sheep-fold, are thus all included under the 
same roof. Around the Diwan-Khanah are spread coarse car- 
pets of Fliyat manufacture, and in the centre is dug a deep 
square hole for the fire; in the tent of Jemshid Beg the hole 
was filled with chips and logs of wood, and above were piled huge 
branches of trees to the height of several feet, and the mass of 
combustibles, when ignited, threw out, as may be supposed, such 
a heat, that it was with difficulty I could remain in the tent. 

February ISth. — I halted to-day at Chardawer, to enable the 
troops to come up and rest, after their very fatiguing march. I 
was in some apprehension at first ; for there was blood between 
the Gurans and the followers of Jemshid Beg, the latter having 
joined the Kalhur tribe in their last foray on the Guran lands, 
and having lost several men in the skirmish which ensued. 
" Had they slain, however, a hundred of my men," said Jemshid 
Beg, "they are your sacrifice; the Guran having come here 
under your shadow, they are all my guests ;" and he insisted, 
accordingly, in furnishing the regiment with supplies, as a part of 
my own entertainment. Neither could I prevail on him to accept 
of any remuneration ; he only requested that, in time of need, I 
would permit him to take bast'l in my tent. 

February 19th. — From the 6ba§ of Jemshid Beg I marched 
four farsakhs to Zangawan, where A 'limed Khan, one of the 
joint Walis of Pushti-kuh, held his temporary camp. The road 
led, for 12 miles, down the plain of Chardawer, through an open 

* A corruption, I fancy, from Khizr, the Muselman name of Elias. 

f The inner apartments for the women. 

I Sanctuary. § An I'liyat encampment. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 51 

and well-cultivated country, to the CMrmin Kuh (the white 
hills). At the foot of the hills we crossed the stream which 
waters the plains of A'smanabad and Chardawer ; and,, at a short 
distance to our left, we saw it unite with a deep and rapid river, 
which here debouches from Zagros by a tremendous gorge, called 
the Tangi-Baba Giriyya. This was the river of Kirrind, which 
flows from that place to the plain of Harunabad, and there en- 
tering among the mountains, receives in its onward course the 
A^bi-Harasam and several other petty streams, until, swollen to a 
river of great force and rapidity,, it bursts in a succession of terrific 
cataracts through the mountain of Wardalan, and emerges into 
the low country at the foot of the range. The ascent of the 
Charm m hills was most abrupt : at the summit was some extent 
of table-land, and the descent on the other side into the plain of 
Zangawan was equally precipitous. I heard of another route, at 
a short distance to the right, conducting over the hills by a very 
easy pass into the plain of Karazan, and thence,, following down a 
stream to Zangawan, which doubtless marks the line of the an- 
cient road. Immediately on pitching my camp in the plain of 
Zangawan, A'hmed Khan, the joint Wall of Pushti-kuh, came 
to call on me. 

Between the 12th and the 17th centuries the province of Luri- 
Kuclmk was governed by a race of independent princes, who were 
named A'tabegs. The last prince of this royal race, Shah-verdi 
Khan, was removed by Shall 'Abbas the Great, and the govern- 
ment was granted to the chief of a rival tribe, Husein Khan, with 
almost unlimited authority, and with the title of Wall in exchange 
for that of A'tabeg; his descendants have retained the title, which 
in Persia is almost equivalent to royalty,' 1 ' and, though their power 
is now greatly weakened, they still affect a royal style in their 
manners and establishment. Owing to the intestine divisions of 
the family, Pish-kuh, which is by far the fairest portion of Luri- 
Kuchuk^ has been wrested from them, and placed under the 
direct control of the Kirmanshah government. Pushti-kuh, 
however, still acknowledges the sway of the Wall ; and, since the 
death of Mohammed 'All Mfrza, Hasan KMn, who had enjoyed 
this dignity, had yielded ? mere nominal allegiance to the crown 
of Persia. Shortly before my visit, however, a breach had taken 
place in the family between Hasan Khan and his two eldest sons, 
and, the tribes being divided, the Kirmanshah government had 
taken advantage of the moment to interfere, by supporting the 
sons against the father, and thus to establish a partial influence 
over the country. Hasan Khan therefore had been formally 

* The title of Shahinshah, or king of kings, was assumed by the Persian mo- 
narch as lord paramount over four tributary princes, the Walls of Gnrjistan 
(Georgia), Ardelan, Luristan, and Hawizah, 

E 2 



52 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

deposed, and 'All Khan and A'hmed Khan appointed joint Wall's 
in his place. The old man, for he is now upwards of ninety 
years of age, took refuge with a small body of adherents among 
the Arabs of the Assyrian plains, where, for some time, he baffled 
all the attacks of his enemies ; and lately the Pliyat, finding that 
they alone were the party likely to suffer in the struggle between 
their rulers, and the consequent extension of the Persian autho- 
rity over them, have obliged the father and sons to be reconciled ; 
and Hasan Khan now again governs the territory of Pushti-kuh 
with the power and energy of an independent prince. When the 
whole of Luri-Kuchuk was under the dominion of the Walls, all 
the tribes were included, under the general denomination of 
Faili, the peculiar title of Husein Khan's clan. At present, 
however, the inhabitants of Pish-kuh do not acknowledge the 
name in any way; they have a distinct classification of their 
own, and the title of Faili is applied alone to the tribes of Pushti- 
kuh, who are under the sway of the Waif. The maps therefore 
are incorrect when they describe the whole of Luri-Kuchuk as 
"a mountainous country, inhabited by the Faili tribes." 

I found A'hmed Khan a man of agreeable manners, and far better 
acquainted with the general state of eastern politics than I could 
possibly have expected. There was a tincture of bigotry, how- 
ever, in his conversation, which forcibly reminded me of his being 
the representative, both in family and station, of the infamous 
Kalb 'Ali Khan, who murdered, for a conscientious refusal to 
pronounce the kalemah of Islam,* my unfortunate countrymen, 
Captains Grant and Fotheringham.j The family of the Wall, 
indeed, are notorious for their intolerant spirit ; and I should re- 
commend any European traveller visiting the province of Pushti- 
kuh, in order to examine its remarkable antiquities, to appear in 
the meanest guise, and live entirely among the wandering I'liyat, 
who are mostly 'All Ilahis, and are equally ignorant and indiffer- 
ent on all matters of religion. In my own case, of course, I had 
nothing to apprehend, as I was marching at the head of a regi- 
ment, and the rulers of the province were anxious to propitiate 
the favour of the prince of Kirmanshah, in whose service I was 
known to be; but I saw enough on this journey, and upon subse- 
quent occasions, of the extreme jealousy and intolerance of the 
Wall's family, to feel assured that the attempt of an European to 
explore the country in an open and undisguised character, with 
any less efficient support, would be attended with the greatest 
danger. 

A small stream at Zangawan forces its way through a chasm 
in the Charmm hills, and falls into the river which I have already 

* "There is no God but God, and Mohammed is his prophet." 
t See Malcolm's Persia, vol. ii. p. 438. * 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 53 

described, and which is here called the Abi-Sfrwftn. The chasm 
is named the Bandi-Shamshab ; and in its precipitous face is a 
cavern only accessible by a ladder of ropes, in which are usually 
deposited the arms, stores, and treasures of the Faili tribe. Zan- 
gawan is, in consequence of this natural stronghold, and the fruit- 
ful and abundant character of the country around it, a favourite 
station for the encampment of the chieftain of Pushti-kuh. 

February 20th. — This was a day of particular interest. My 
chief object in selecting this route had been to visit the far-famed 
ruins of the city of Sirwan ; and to-day were my wishes gratified. 
I had been informed that the ruins lay upon the direct road, and 
did not think it worth while therefore to take a guide with me 
from Zangawan. After riding 10 miles, however, I learnt that the 
object of my search was a considerable distance to the right hand; 
and, the day being now far advanced, I had no alternative but to 
send on the troops to their place of encampment, and gallop 
across the country with a few horsemen to the ruins. I regretted 
this much afterwards, as I was prevented, by the smallness of my 
party, from examining the place with as much minuteness as I 
could have wished. 

After crossing a range of low sand-hills, I reached a plain of 
limited extent, but excellently watered, and in the highest pos- 
sible state of cultivation, which was called the Sahrai-Sfrwan — 
every little eminence round the plain was crowned with ruins, 
whose rude though massive character bespoke the architecture of 
the Sasanian ages, and indicated the former populousness of the 
district. Whitewashed obelisks of brick-work, varying from 10 
to 15 feet in height, were also to be seen in all directions upon 
the skirts of the hills, the sepulchral monuments of the Lurish 
chiefs. I inquired of a peasant the story of one of these, which, 
from its tall graceful form and recent erection, particularly at- 
tracted my notice. (i A chief from Pish-kuh was betrothed," he 
said, ' c to the daughter of one of our Tushmals ;* he came to cele- 
brate his nuptials, but sickened upon the road, and died before he 
reached the encampment of his bride. The maiden raised this 
pillar to his memory, and, shaving her long tresses, hung them 
round the obelisk in token of her grief." I found indeed most of 
the pillars thus decked with a coronal of woman's tresses, and 
learnt that it was a custom among the Lurish I'liyat, on the death 
of a chieftain, for all his female relations to cut off their hair, and 
hang their locks, woven into a funeral wreath, upon the tomb of 
their departed lord. 

A narrow valley runs out westerly from the plain of Sirwan, 

* Tushmal, in Lurish j signifies, like Kedkhuda in Persian, "the master of a 
house." The petty chiefs of Luristan are all called Tushmals. 



54 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

piercing the hill of Kalarag, which forms a sort of outer barrier 
to the great chain of Mila-gawan, and in this valley,, upon the 
northern acclivity,, are the ruins of the city. 

The ruins of Sirwan are the most perfect remains of a Sasanian 
city in Persia. The buildings are uniformly composed of massive 
stone walls,, cemented with a plaster of lime from the neighbour- 
ing hill Sj, of the most extraordinary hardness and tenacity ; a 
foundation of arched subterranean vaults appears universal,, above 
which the usual construction seems to have been a single arched 
passage,, divided into a number of apartments surrounding a quad- 
rangular court ; but, in other instances,, the superstructure consists 
of a whole labyrinth of these vaulted passages,, communicating with 
each other,, the centre apartments being thus necessarily in a state 
of complete darkness,, unless, indeed,, of which I could perceive 
no trace, light was admitted from above. In a few cases, there 
were the remains of a second story, also arched, so that it would 
appear as if beams of wood were never made use of in these Sa- 
sanian buildings. Some of the houses were in a state of perfect 
preservation, the flowers and rude patterns upon the cement 
coating of the interior of the vaults appearing as fresh as if stamped 
but a few years ago. In the generality, however, the ends of the 
vaults had been broken in, which gave a most singular appearance 
to the side of the hill at a little distance, presenting to view no- 
thing but lines of arched passages, as though the mountain itself 
were perforated with vaults. 

One unusually extensive mass of ruins, overgrown with weeds 
and grass, was called the Kasr, or place of Anushiravan ; a hole 
in this mound, just large enough to admit of a man's body, which 
led into the labyrinth of subterranean vaults, was named the 
Dakhmah,* or grave of Anushiravan, and was supposed to con- 
duct to the place where that monarch's body was depositedy amid 
heaps of countless treasures. A talismanic tablet, engraven with 
unknown characters, was said to guard the entrance to the tomb, 
beyond which, if any one attempted to penetrate, he inevitably 
perished. Isma'il Khan, a Faili chief, I was told by some of the 
peasantry who had joined my party, had come to the spot a few 
years before, determined to penetrate into the vaults; but the 
first man whom he sent into the Dakhmah had never returned, 
and the rest of the party were so alarmed at his fate that they 
could not be induced to creep in above a few yards from the 
entrance. From what I had seen of the intricate ramifications of 
the vaults exposed to view, in several of the other ruined buildings 
of far less extent, I could easily believe, without the intervention 

* Dakhmah is the place where the Gebrs or Parsis exposed the corpses of their 
dead. 
f Anushiravan, we know, was in reality interred at Tus. 



March from Zohcib to Khiizistdn. 55 

of a miracle,, that the unfortunate man had been unable to regain 
the narrow aperture by which he entered,, and had thus perished 
miserably in the subterranean labyrinth. The account, however, 
of the tablet engraved with unknown characters appeared so 
authentic, many of the peasants declaring that they had reached 
it, and describing exactly a large hewn stone covered with a long 
inscription, that I was very anxious, if possible, to examine it. 
Accordingly I was joining together ropes, bridle-reins, &c, to 
form a long line, when I heard an old white-beard behind me 
say — (i I have not seen a Firingi since Kalb 'All Khan caught 
those two kafirs thirty years ago, and, sending them to Jahannam, 
divided their spoil among the tribe ;" and, looking round, I saw 
that about 200 of as savage -looking beings as I ever beheld had 
swarmed out of the vaults, which they use as places of abode, and, 
having surrounded my little party, were evidently discussing the 
propriety of an attack. It would have been madness to have 
prolonged my stay among these ruffians, who make no more 
account of cutting a man's throat than a sheep's ; so, pretending 
that I had not breakfasted, I directed them to prepare torches and 
a long rope, and told them I would take my breakfast on the banks 
of the little stream below the ruins, and return afterwards to pene- 
trate into the Dakhmah. They appeared to believe me, and let 
me ride quietly down to the banks of the stream, from whence 
I trotted at a brisk pace out of the gorge, glad enough to be well 
quit of the neighbourhood, even at the price of being disappointed 
in seeing the talismanic tablet. I conceive the inscription, if it 
does exist, to be probably in the Pehlevi language, as the ruins 
around are certainly Sasanian. The circumstance, however, 
which particularly excited my interest about it was the possibi- 
lity of its being Greek, a relic of the Boeotian colony whom 
Xerxes transported to this spot ;* for the town of Sirwan is now 
generally known among the Lurs by the title of Shahri-Ke'ilun ; 
and, with this similitude of name, and the indication of 3 marches' 
distance from Sambana (Seimarrah, the capital of Sabadan), 
there can be no difficulty in identifying it with the Celonse of 
Diodorus, which Alexander visited in his march through this dis- 
trict, on his route from Susa to Ecbatana. Sirwan is also named 
by the Liirs Shahri-Anushiravan, that monarch being its re- 
puted founder ; and, indeed, as the present ruins are Sasanian, it 
would appear probable that Anushiravan did really build Sirwan 
on the site of the old Grecian town. 

The ruins within the gorge are of very limited extent, scarcely 
perhaps a mile in length ; but the buildings are crowded toge- 
ther, more after the fashion of a European than an Oriental 

* Diod, Sic, book xvii. c. 11. 



56 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

town. Abu-1-feda assimilates the situation of Sir wan to that of 
Mecca ; being shut in between a hill and a river ; and, from what 
I have read of the latter,, I should think the resemblance correct. 
Quoting from another author, he also says that " there is a tomb 
here more holy than all others in the world,, excepting that of 
Mohammed ;" this I conceive to be the spot near Si'rw&n, which 
is now called, by the Lurs, the tomb of 'Abbas 'Ali, the brother 
of the Imams Hasan and Husein, who in reality was interred at 
Kerbela ; it is a place of great sanctity, and pilgrimages are made 
to it from all parts of Luristan ; ' Abb£s 'Ali being regarded by the 
'All Ilahis as the joint successor with his brothers of the incarna- 
tion of the divine principle, after the murder of his father. Sir- 
wan is well described by all the Oriental geographers; and I 
cannot help regarding it as the river Vaanath of Benjamin of 
Tudela, distant two days' journey from Robadbar, and in which 
he found 4000 families of Jews ; Nahrawan being a mistake of 
the Hebrew copyist for Sirwdn, which was originally written. 

I reached the place of encampment, distant 4 farsakhs from 
the ruins of Sirwan, soon after sunset ; the tents were pitched on 
the banks of the broad and deep stream of the Abi- Sirwan, at 
the head of the district of Rudbar,* which extends from hence 
along the valley of the river, a distance of about 6 farsakhs, to the 
point of its confluence with the Kerkhah. I heard at that spot of the 
ruins of a very considerable town, similar in appearance to Sirwan, 
which was called the Shahri-Rudbar : j this would appear to be 
the Robadbar of Benjamin of Tudela, where he found 20,000 
families of Jews ; for the names are too nearly similar to allow 
us to attach much weight to his measurement (perhaps incorrect in 
the numbers) of 3 days' march from Susa. There is also a city 
mentioned in Oriental history under the name of el Rud,;|; 
situated in this province of Masabadan, which was celebrated as the 
place of sepulture of the Khaliph Mehdi, one of the most magni- 
ficent of the house of 'Abbas ; § and although the only measure- 
ment which I can find, referring to this place, does not exactly 
coincide with the position of Rudbar, |) yet, from the similarity 
of name, and as I can hear of no other ruin in the district which 
may possibly apply, I am still inclined in favour of the identifi- 
cation. There are several stories related by the historians re- 
garding the death of the Khaliph Mehdi, but the most probable 
seems to be, that he broke his back in pursuing an antelope 

* Riidbar is a name applied to many districts in Persia which lie along the banks 
of a river. 

f City of Rudbar. + See Ibn Kuteibah Yakut, &c. § He died a.d. 7S4. 

|j In the Murasid-u-1-Ittila, the interval between Ariyuhan or Zarnhaand el Rud is 
stated at 10 farsakhs; perhaps this may he an error for 20, the words being nearly 
similar in Arabic. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 57 

through the low door- way of a ruin whilst hunting in this district.* 
Of the site of the village of Rafaz, where the Khaliph had his 
summer hunting-place,y I have no indication. At the time when 
Yakut compiled his geographical lexicon, J about a.d. 1200, the 
traces of this tomb were hardly visible ; and it is not surprising, 
therefore, that in the present day not only should the place of inter- 
ment be unknown, but that the very legend of the illustrious dead 
should have altogether vanished. 

February 2lst. — From Rudbar I marched 22 miles to the 
Sahrai-Lort. The road rising from the bed of the Sirwan river 
traversed a range of hills, thickly wooded with the Belut, which 
divided the plain of Sirwan from the little valley of Badrai. 
From the summit of these hills the magnificent range of Kebir-kuh 
first bursts upon the view, a sublime spectacle ; the mountains, at 
this their north-western extremity, soaring up almost perpendi- 
cularly to a height which I suspect to be unequalled in the entire 
range. The peak of the hill., upon its northern face, was stated 
to be covered with perpetual snow ; and this I do not believe to be 
the case with any other mountain, except the Kuhi-Mungasht, in 
the whole chain of Zagros, south of Zohab. Two valleys, divided 
by a narrow range, and each watered by a petty stream, which 
falls into the Sirwan river, are successively passed on descending 
from the oak- wooded hills ; they are named Badrai and Kaka- 
gawan. Another little chain is crossed beyond the stream of K£ka- 
gawan, and the road from thence descends into the plain of Lort. 
I consider this space, intervening between Sirwan and Lort, to 
be the most difficult of transit upon the entire line between Zagros 
and Susiana ; but still it is perfectly practicable to wheeled car- 
riages. At the entrance of the plain of Lort is passed a spacious 
building, which is said to contain the body of Jabir Ansar, one 
of the As-hab, or companions of the prophet ;§ though how this 
holy personage should have found his way into the centre of Lu- 
ristan is not attempted to be explained. The Sahrai-Lort is 
covered with the cemeteries of Lurish Fliyat, where I had occa- 
sion to observe the custom, which prevails throughout Persia, of 
representing symbolically upon the gravestone the sex, character, 
and occupation of the deceased., but nowhere so curiously and 
elaborately expressed as in these rude monuments of the Lurish 
tribes. Thus, upon one tombstone, I remarked the following 

* See D'Herbelot, in the title Mahadi. 

f See Tarikhi-Tabari, Pers. MS. 

X The Mu'jamu-1-Buldan. He afterwards condensed his great lexicon into a 
smaller compass, adding many particulars regarding the territory of Baghdad, and 
gave it the name of Murasidu-1-Ittila. My copy of the MS. states positively that 
the epitome, with its additions, was composed by Yakut himself. In Europe it is 
generally supposed to have been the work of Ibn 'Abdi-1-Hakk. 

§ See D'Herbelot, in the title Giaber. 



58 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

designs, all very rudely engraven, but still sufficiently marked to 
denote their true signification. First — a chief, attended by a 
few followers, shooting a lion that had fastened on the haunches 
of a deer ; secondly — hounds pursuing in full chase a herd of 
antelopes; thirdly — a falconer flying his hawk at a partridge; 
fourthly — a company of horsemen^ armed as if for a foray ; fifthly 
— a band of women dancing the chupi ;* and the elegy of glyphs 
was closed by a ring, a rosary, and a comb, toothed upon one 
side, such as is used by men in Persia ; this last being the dis- 
tinctive mark of the male sex ; as the double-toothed comb is of 
the female. There were a multitude of other devices among the 
tombstones, some of them very curious, all of which I carefully 
noted, but have not time here to enumerate. The obelisks, and 
domes also, were uniformly decked with a wreath of woman's 
tresses, which, waving in the breeze, appeared to me a far more 
pleasing record of funereal grief than the fanciful devices of the 
sculptured slabs. The plain of Lort is of great extent, sloping 
down gradually to the valley of the Kerkhah river, but it is badly 
supplied with water, and therefore thinly inhabited by the Faili 
tribes. 

February 22nd. — I moved on 20 miles, in a S. E. J S. direc- 
tioo, along the Sahrai-Lort, gradually descending all the way to 
the camp of Mirza Buzurg, the governor of Pish-kuh, which 
was pitched in the plain of Seimarrah, on the banks of the Ker- 
khah river. The plain of Seimarrah is of great extent, stretching 
N.W. and S.E. about 40 miles, and varying from 5 to 10 miles 
in breadth, between Kebir-kdh and the Kerkhah. Geographically 
considered, it is included in Pushti-kuh; but Mohammed 'All 
Mirza annexed it to Pish-kuh, and the Wall's have never since 
been able to recover it. Lort and Seimarrah now form the fron- 
tier districts. Seimarrah is cultivated by about S00 families of 
the Amalah division of Pish-kuh ; and it also affords winter pas- 
turage to at least 1000 families from the other tribes of Luristan. 
Mirza Buzurg had left his camp to meet the prince at Jaidar, 
whom I was also proceeding to join, but I. was very hospitably 
entertained by his people. 

February 23rd. — Sending on the troops to the bridge of Ga- 
mashan, a distance of 3 \ farsakhs, I rode across the plain, with a 
guide, in a S.W. direction, to the ruined city of Seimarrah, which 
is usually called, by the Lurs, Darah Shahr, the city of the vale ; 
or Shahri-Khusrau, the city of Khusrauf Parviz. Seimarrah is 
situated at the distance of about 8 miles in a direct line from the 
right bank of the Kerkhah, in a gorge of the mountains of Sheikh 
M&kan, which form an outer rampart to Kebir Kuh; as, in the 

* For a description of this dance see Rich's i Kurdistan,' vol. i. p. 282. 
f Chosroes of the Greeks. F. S. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 59 

case of Sirwan, Kalarag does to Mila-Gawan. The locality of 
these two cities of Sirwan and Seimarrah is, indeed, singularly 
identical ; and so precisely similar in character also are the ruins, 
that any description would be but a repetition of my former 
remarks. At Seimarrah, however, the ruins are somewhat more 
extensive, giving the idea of a city of greater consequence ; and 
the direction of the streets and bazars, and the position of the 
karavan-serais and principal edifices can be traced with greater 
accuracy than amid the ruins of Sirwan, where the buildings are 
so heaped together into a dense and confused mass, that a per- 
ception of their general design is unattainable. A fortress (of 
which the superstructure appears to be the work of later times), 
a large quadrangular enclosure (the Ma'idan, probably, of the 
city), and a mass of building known by the name of Takhti- 
Khusrau (Khusrau's throne), are the principal ruins which attract 
observation. A massive wall, also, has been thrown across the 
jaws of the gorge, which must have rendered the position of the 
city, shut in on all other sides by natural defences of an almost 
insurmountable character, one of extreme strength and security. 
The reputed founder of Seimarrah, among the Lurs, is Khusrau 
Parviz. Innumerable traditions are current regarding the ad- 
ventures of Shirin and Ferhad at this Kishlak, or winter residence 
of the Sasanian monarch ; and a ruin is pointed out, among the 
rugged precipices south of the city, where Khusrau is said to 
have placed his queen, in jealous fear of the enamoured boldness 
of Ferhad, and the spot is still called K a sri- Shirin. Seimarrah 
appears to have been for a time the capital of the province of 
Masabadan. I regard it as the Sambana (a corruption of Saba- 
dan) of Diodorus,* which Alexander passed on his route from 
Susa, three marches before reaching the Boeotian colony of Ce- 
lonae (Sirwan or Keilun). It would also appear to represent the 
strong fastness in the hills east of Ctesiphon to which Khusrau 
Parviz sent his wives and children when the emperor Heraclius 
threatened his capital.j At the time of the Arab conquest of 
Persia it seems to have been named, indifferently, Seimarrah and 
Mali Sabadan; at least, the capture of the fort of Mah Sabadan, 
described by Tabari, will only suit this place ; and, in the other 
historians, the victory is usually denominated the conquest of 
Seimarrah. In the eighth or ninth century of Christ, Seimarrah 
sank before the rising greatness of Mihrgan Kudak ; and, though 
it continues to be mentioned by all the Arabian geographers, it 
does not appear ever to have recovered much importance. At 
the commencement of the fourteenth century it was in ruins. J 

* Diod. Sic, book xvii. chap. 110. f Theophanes, p, 269, 

t See Nuzhat-u-1-Kulub. 



60 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

In a gorge of the hills, distant scarcely 2 miles south of Sei- 
marrah, are the remains of another city,, precisely similar in ap- 
pearance, as I have heard, to those of Seimarrah : the place is 
called Tangi-Sikan ; but I did not learn of the existence of the 
ruins until it was too late to visit them. Although I have no 
positive evidence upon the subject, I cannot doubt that these 
ruins represent the site of Mihrgan Kudak, the see, in the ninth 
century, of a Christian bishop, under the Nestorian metro- 
politan of Susiana.* The Arabians wrote the name Mihrjan 
Kudhak ; and seem to refer to the place as immediately con- 
tiguous to Seimarrah, an indication which will suit no other spot 
but Tangi-Sikan. This is the town which, in our translation of 
Idrfsi, j is named Mahargiafendec. 

The bridge over the Kerkhah, named the Puli-Gamashan, 
bears nearly E. of Seimarrah, at the distance of 8 miles. An 
ancient bridge formerly existed here, called Puli- Khusrau ; the 
remains of two buttresses are still visible, and I should regard them, 
from their appearance, as coeval with the building of the Sasanian 
cities of Sir wan and Seimarrah. The bridge which at present 
crosses the river is one of the best I have seen in Persia. It was 
built by Husein Khani-Buzurg, the famous Wall of Luristan, in 
a.h. 1008, as is commemorated upon a small tablet built into the 
parapet. The river is here much contracted, and a single arch 
is thrown across the bed of the stream of about 80 feet in width. 
An arch of almost an equal span is necessary, however, to con- 
nect this with the right-hand bank ; and, on the other side, a long 
line of smaller arches forms a sort of causeway along the shelving 
ground. The entire length of the bridge is 165 paces ; and spa- 
cious rooms are constructed in all the buttresses, where, without 
much difficulty, I could have quartered the Guran regiment. 
The name of Gamashan is a mere corruption of the title of the 
river in the early part of its course, where it is called Gamas, or 
Gamash-ab, from the pretended representation of a cow (ga) and 
a fish (mas) on the rock of Chihil-Nabalighan, above the spring 
of Chashmi-Kazim,J the real source of the Kerkhah. 

February 24th. — From the Puli-Gamashan I marched 4 far- 
sakhs to Jaidar : the direct road to Dizful, from the bridge, 
follows down the course of the Kerkhah to A'bi-Garm, distant 
6 farsakhs ; but I was obliged to deviate to Jaidar, to join the 
prince's camp, and take command of the assembled troops. 
The Kashghan river joins the Kerkhah, or, as it is called in this 

* See Assemanni, Bib. Orient., vol.ii. p. 460. f Idrfsi,p. 199. a.i>. 1600. 

I In the Mu'jamu-1-Buldan it is stated that these figures are actually carved in 
the rock near Islihawand ; but I cannot discover that any such sculptures exist at 
the present day, though the story is still current. It is curious that many old coins 
should be found in Persia with this device of a bull and fish. 



March from Zohdb to KMzistdn. 6 1 

part of its course, the A'oi-Seimarrah, and corruptedly Sad- 
marrah, about one mile above the Puli-Gamdshan; and the road 
runs along parallel to its course the whole way to Jaidar ; the 
track is extremely difficult, ascending, for about 2 farsakhs, a 
steep and rocky pass, which is barely practicable to loaded mules. 
From the summit of the mountains, which form the outer ram- 
part of the chain of Zagros, the Kashghan river, on the left-hand, 
is seen at the depth of some thousand feet, foaming and struggling 
amid the most tremendous precipices, as it forces its way through 
the range, and descends in a succession of magnificent cataracts 
into the valley of the Kerkhah. The crown of the hill has been 
enclosed with a double line of wall, to command the pass ; and 
were these old walls, although in ruins, to be defended with any 
firmness, at the present day, I consider that the pass is not to be 
forced. On descending gradually from the range, the open 
country of Jaidar is entered — a plain, considerably elevated above 
the valley of the Kerkhah, but still much lower than the high 
table -land beyond the ridges to the eastward. A considerable 
hamlet, called 'Amarat, is here passed ; and, a short distance 
farther on, I reached the meadow-land along the banks of the 
river, where the Kirmanshah troops were encamped. 

The situation of the camp was very striking, the tents being 
pitched along the left bank of the Kashghan, where the river 
debouches through a chasm in the hills into the plain of Jaidar. 
The remains of a bridge are visible at this place, one of the most 
massive I have seen in Persia. It was situated in the very jaws 
of the gorge, and consisted of a single arch thrown across from 
rock to rock ; the two buttresses now alone remain, jutting out 
into the water, and formed of such tremendous blocks of hewn 
stone, that, although exposed to the whole force of the current 
for perhaps fifteen centuries, not one has been removed from its 
place. It is called the Puli-Shapur, or Puli-Dukhtar ; and is 
ascribed to Shapur, the second king of the Sasanian dynasty, 
although the Lurs have also a love-story to explain its appellation 
of the Maiden's Bridge. I conceive it to be a work of the Sasa- 
nians, forming the thoroughfare fromBisutiin and Kermanshah to 
their favoured cities of Susiana. The Kashghan river spreads 
itself out immediately below the gorge, and, dividing into two 
arms, thus admits of being forded, except during a few months in 
the spring, when its waters are unusually swollen by the melting 
of the snows. At this time the stream, though very rapid, was 
not more than three feet deep ; and the passage, therefore, of the 
troops and artillery, from Kermanshah, was effected with some 
delay, but without any accident. The plain of Jaidar is stated 
to be a perfect paradise in the spring, as well from its verdant 
herbage as from the quantities of wild flowers that enamel its 



62 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

surface. It is cultivated by some 300 families of Deh-Nishms 
of the 'Amalah division of Pish-kuh ; and also affords winter pas- 
ture to the great tribe of Ilasan&wand. 

February 28th. — After halting three days at Jaidar we struck 
our camp and marched 4 farsakhs to A'bi-Garm ; the first 2 
farsakhs were along the table-land at the top of the hills, through 
an open country, which is all included under the name of Jaidar. 
At the pass which conducts down the hills into the valley of the 
Kerkhah we joined the high-road conducting from Dizful to 
Khorram-abad. From this point to the plain of Khorram-abad, 
a distance of about 20 farsakhs, the country is very mountainous 
and difficult ; but still it is practicable to artillery, and forms the 
usual route by which the governor of Kirmanshah marches upon 
Khuzistan. The tract of country at the top of the hills is very 
desolate and barren, and is therefore called the Chul, or desert 
of Jaidar : and a spot is also shown which is believed by the 
Lurs to mark the site of Sodom, being called Shahri-Lut* (Lot's 
city). We now began to descend the range which I had already 
crossed between the Kerkhah and Jaidar ; and though the pass 
of Chuli-Jaidar is considered to be easiest in the entire chain, 
which, as may be seen on a reference to the map., extends from 
Sunbulah to Dizful, yet it was not without great delay and diffi- 
culty that we succeeded in getting down the guns. A company 
of pioneers, however, might make a good road of the pass in a few 
days. From the foot of the hills, another farsakh brought us 
across an undulating plain to our encamping-place, on the banks 
of the little stream of A'bi-Garm, near the point of its confluence 
with the Kerkhah. The direction of our march from the camp 
at Jaidar was due S. 

February 29th. — We this day marched 7 farsakhs, along the 
banks of the Kerkhah, to Puli-tang, the great range of Kailun 
running parallel to our route, upon the left hand, and throAving out 
detached branches into the plain, at some points to the very 
banks of the river. The ancient high-road from Susa, through 
Mali Sabadan, led along the right bank of the Kerkhah, between 
Kebir-kuh and the river; and though the road we were now 
pursuing was far from difficult, yet the track upon the other 
bank seemed more open and commodious. The Puli-tang, or 
" Bridge of the Chasm," is a most remarkable spot; the broad 
stream of the Kerkhah, in general about 80 or 100 yards in width, 
here, for the space of 300 paces, forces its way through a narrow 
chasm, which a bold cragsman may spring across with ease ; in- 
deed I saw a young Kurd, on this occasion, leap across the river, 
to prove, as he said, that the feat was practicable ; though it was 

* A number of desert places in Persia are thus named Shahri-Lut. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 63 

rather nervous to look at him, for the crags were very slippery, 
and had he missed his footing he must have been dashed to 
pieces. The cleft is now about 150 feet in depth ; the sides are 
honeycombed in the most fantastic manner, as though the chasm 
had been gradually worn down in the rock by the action of the 
water ; and the river boils and foams below, in its narrow bed, 
as we might fancy of Styx or Phlegethon. A little arch has 
been thrown across the cleft, which forms the great thoroughfare 
for the Lurish Fliyat, in their passage between their summer 
pastures, near Khorram-abad., and the warm plains beyond the 
Kerkhah, where they encamp in winter. It was by this bridge, 
T believe, that Antigonus passed the Kerkhah in his memorable 
retreat from Badaca across the mountains into Media. The 
short road, which is described by Diodorus as conducting from 
Susa into Media, through the mountains of the Cossaeans, " diffi- 
cult, narrow, precipitous, through a hostile tract, badly fur- 
nished with necessaries, but short and cool," * was of course 
the route up the valley of the Kerkhah to A'bi-Garm, and from 
thence across the mountains to Khorram- abaci ; and this is also 
the track across Mount Charban, which measured, according to 
Pliny, between Susa and Ecbatana, 380 Roman miles, j- a state- 
ment that is strictly accurate ; but I doubt if Antigonus pursued 
this exact route in his retreat from Badaca, for, in the face of an 
enemy, he could scarcely have traversed, in nine days, the space 
of about 180 miles, intervening by the high-road between the 
ruins which I suppose to represent Badaca and the first inha- 
bited region of Media, at Khorram-abad. As he appears to have 
altogether slighted the power of the mountaineers, and the re- 
ported difficulties of the country, I conclude that he took the 
most direct route that would conduct him therefore from the 
Puli-tang to the pass of Kail tin, and so on, through the heart 
of the mountains, along the road which I have laid down in my 
map; and which is still sometimes followed by travellers with 
light baggage. The distance along this road will correspond with 
his nine marches ; and the place where he was in danger of losing 
his whole army will thus fall in with the position of the steep and 
precipitous defile of Kailun, which exactly answers to the de- 
scription of Diodorus. 

March 1st — From Puli-tang to Kal'ahi-Riza there are two 
roads, the one along the banks of the Kerkhah, and across a most 
precipitous range of low gypsum hills, which are impracticable 
even to a loaded mule ; and the other making a considerable de- 
tour to the left, to cross the hills by an easy pass, and rejoining 
the other road at the ford of the A'bi-Zal. The A'bi-Zal is dis- 

* Diod. Sic, book xix. chap. 19. f Pliny, book vi. chap, 27. 



64 Major Rawlins on \s Notes on a 

tant 8 miles from the Piili-tang by the near road, and 15 by 
the circuitous track round the hills. It is an impetuous moun- 
tain-torrent, which rises high up in the fastnesses of Kali-Asped 
and Anarah-riid, and, after a course of perhaps 50 miles, falls 
into the Kerkhah 3 miles below the point where it is here 
crossed, on the road to Dizful. I have collected all my memo- 
randa regarding the Kerkhah, which some late geographers have 
doubted to be identical with the river of Kermanshah, into a 
separate paper, and this must excuse the hasty notice which I 
give its tributaries ; but still I cannot pass over the A'bi-Zal with- 
out endeavouring to rectify an error of nomenclature which has 
crept into all our maps, and thereby created the greatest con- 
fusion. The river of Dizful is now invariably called by our geo- 
graphers the A'bi-Zal, but this is certainly incorrect ; neither in 
any Oriental author nor among the inhabitants of Susiana do I 
find that such a title ever has been or is applied to it ; and, what 
is not a little curious, I cannot help suspecting that the error, 
which has now grown universal, has arisen from a faulty passage 
in Petit de la Croix's translation of the History of Timur, where, 
in describing the march of the Tatar army from Khorram-abad, 
he says, ei Timur, in 1 1 days, arrived at the bridge over the river 
A'bi-Zal : the town at the bridge is called Dizfid." Not having 
Sharafu-d-din at hand to refer to, I cannot say whether this clause, 
Ci the town at the bridge is called Dizful," is a wrong translation, 
an interpolation in the text, which the learned Frenchman copied, 
or an error of the original historian. Khwandemir, however, 
who evidently drew his materials from Sharhud-dm, has no such 
statement ; and the A'bi-Zal, to which he alludes in describing 
this march of Timur, is certainly the river of that name, which I 
passed between Jaidar and Dizful. Mr. Long, in his c Memoir 
on the Site of Susa, 5 * states that Colonel Chesney believed the 
A'bi-Zal to join the Kerkhah at Hawizah ; and the instructions 
of that distinguished traveller to Major Estcourt, published in 
the Euphrates-papers, appear to imply the same opinion. But 
this idea, I cannot help thinking, has also arisen from the mis- 
take regarding the name of A'bi-Zal. .Colonel Chesney was 
doubtless informed in Susiana that the A'bi-Zal disembogues 
itself into the Kerkhah, as it really does ; but the river to which his 
informant alluded, under this name, was quite distinct from the 
A ; bi- Dizful, which Colonel Chesney intended to imply. The 
bridge over the A'bi-Zal, which Timur crossed, still exists ; but 
the pathway along its banks to the bridge we found to be im- 
passable to guns, and our artillery therefore w^as transported 
across the river, by a very difficult and dangerous ford, about 

* Journal of the Geographical Society, vol. iii. p. 265. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 65 

1^ mile lower down. The bed of this stream is filled with im- 
mense masses of rock, brought down by the strength of the current 
from the neighbouring mountains ; and the force of the water is at 
the same time so excessive that accidents frequently occur in cross- 
ing it. The water is salt, from the bed of gypsum, I suppose, 
which it traverses ; it is, however, of the most pellucid clear- 
ness, from which it is said to derive its name of Zal, a contrac- 
tion of the Arabic Zalal, signifying "pure." 

Our place of encampment at Kal'ahi-Riza, in a spacious plain 
of the same name, was distant one farsakh from the ford of the 
A'bi-Zal; and we had now bid adieu to the Kerkhah, which, 
from the point of confluence with that stream, pursues a direction 
nearly southerly, while we bent our steps S.E., towards Dizful. 
There is no encamping-place for I'liyat between Jaidar and the 
plain of Riza ; and even here there are not more than 100 fami- 
lies of Dirikawancls, who pasture their flocks in winter at the foot 
of the hills of Kirki. From the bridge of the A'bi-Zal, the short 
road to Khorram-abad strikes off to the Kailun pass, where it 
ascends the mountains; this track effects a saving of about 10 
farsakhs in the distance between Dizful and Khorram-abad, but 
it is so difficult that it is never attempted by Kdfilahs ; and not 
often even by travellers, if accompanied by baggage. The Kal- 
'ahi-Riza is an old dilapidated fort, surrounded by the ruins of 
a small village. Kebfr-kuh, ending in apeak, called Dumi-shah, 
does not extend beyond this point. 

March 2nd, — The Prince moved on seven farsakhs, to the river 
of Balad-rud. As great delay had taken place in crossing the 
guns over the A'bi-Zdl, and they did not reach the camp till 
midnight, I made a march with the troops of only 4J farsakhs 
to the plain of Huseini. We were now visibly opening into 
the low country of Khuzistan : the road, throughout this stage, 
was over a ground of soft gypsum, which afforded a very easy pas- 
sage for the guns : there were two deep and broad ravines, how- 
ever, called Dukhtar-wajih (the beautiful maid), and Tiktiki (from 
the dropping of a small cascade), which cost us some trouble to 
cross. The plain of Huseini contains the ruins of a small village, 
from which it derives its name. 

March 3rd. — I rejoined the Prince at Balad-rud, making an 
easy march of %\ farsakhs ; the road was good throughout, 
leading along an open plain to the stream of Balad-rud, where 
were the remains of a bridge of brick-work, apparently of no very 
ancient date. The A'bi-Balad-rud rises in the hills of Mangerrah 
and Shah-zMah Ahmed, and after a course of about forty miles, 
flows into the river of Dizful, a short distance below that town : it 
was at this time a mere rivulet, containing scarcely a foot's depth 

VOL. IX. f 



66 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

of water,, but when there is any heavy rain in the hills, it comes 
down in a torrent of tremendous force. 

Some years ago, when the late Shah of Persia was crossing this 
stream with a large body of troops, the torrent, or silab, as it is 
called, came down suddenly, and at once swept off fifty horsemen, 
and the force was delayed for two days upon its banks, during 
which time it was impossible to cross from one side to the other. 
The bed of the A'bi- Balad-rud is covered with pebbles filled with 
little fossil shells : they are called Sangi-Birinj (the rice stone), 
from the resemblance of the fossil shells to grains of rice, and are 
in much request throughout Persia for the head of the N argil 
pipe,* which is scarcely ever, indeed, composed of any thing else 
but this stone, set in silver. The Sangi-Birinj is also found in 
the river of Shuster,| but neither in such quantities nor of so 
good a quality, that is, so full of shells as at Balad-rud, and I do 
not believe that it exists in any other river in Persia. A hill fort 
called the Kal'ahi-Tangawan, overhangs Balad-rud, which has the 
appearance of great strength ; but as it is very indifferently sup- 
plied with water, it is of no repute in the country. 

March 4th, — From Balad-rud the road winds round the low sand 
hills at the foot of the Kal'ahi-Tangawan, and then enters on the 
immense level flat of Susiana. The distance from Balad-rud to 
Dizful is 6 farsakhs, across a plain covered with the most beautiful 
herbage, and which is called Sahrai-Lur. This plain is at pre- 
sent without water, and uncultivated ; but the traces of old canals 
are to be seen traversing it in all. directions, indications of its 
former fertility. The village of Salih-abad, containing about 100 
houses, and defended by a mud wall, is passed at the distance of 
% farsakhs from Dizful ; it is watered by a small kanat, £ brought 
from the hills, and is surrounded by a limited extent of cultiva- 
tion. There are a few mounds, and other remains of old buildings 
at Salih-abad, representing, probably, the Lur, or Biladu-1-Lur, 
of the oriental geographers, which is laid down by them at the 
distance of 2 farsakhs from Andamish. Owing to an ignorance 
of the line of route, Lur has been generally placed in the maps 
upon the Dizful river : some modern geographers, even, have 
supposed that the ruins of the ancient capital of Luristan might 
be found here,§ but from the appearance of the remains, I should 
conjecture Lur to have been a mere village, colonised from the 
neighbouring mountains : it seems, however, to have given its 

* The Nargil pipe is that in which the cocoa-nut is used, instead of the usual 
glass bowls. 

f I write the name Shuster, as it is now commonly sounded— we find it in books 
written in a number of different ways, 

\ A subterraneous canal. 

§ Williams on the Geography of Ancient Asia, p. 238. 



March from Zohdb to KMzistdn. 67 

name to the surrounding plain, which, as I have stated, is still 
called Sahrai-Lur. 

We pitched our camp round the burj, or tower, erected by 
Mohammed A'li Mirza, on the right bank of the river, without 
entering the town. Dizful has been often described ; it is now 
the chief city of Khuzistan, and may contain about 20,000 inha- 
bitants. The river of Dizful is laid down with sufficient accu- 
racy in Kinneir's map ; it is formed of two branches, which rise 
in the territory of Buru-jird, and uniting at Bahrein,* pass into 
the mountains between the hills of Ushturan Kuhf to the right, 
and Miyanah KuhJ to the left. The passage of the river 
through the mountains, from this point to the plain of Dizful, is 
along, perhaps the most elevated and precipitous line in the whole 
range : it forces its way through a succession of chasms and gorges, 
and the track along its bank is utterly impracticable : indeed, this 
part of the range of Zagros is so very precipitous that there is only 
one single pathway conducting across it, from Dizful to Buru-jircl. 
I have laid down the line of this track in my map, but I must ob- 
serve, that it is only followed by the Bakhtiyari-I'liyat, on foot, in 
their annual migrations : it is not to be traversed by a horseman, 
and is considered the most difficult of all the mountain pathways. 
The river of Dizful breaks into the plain between the hill forts of 
Tangawan and Kal'ah-shahi, and passing by the town of Dizful, 
joins the Kuran at Bandi-Kir.§ I believe this stream to be the 
Coprates, but I shall not discuss the very intricate subject of the 
rivers of Susiana, until I have finished my remarks on the positive 
geography of the province. 

Dizful I consider to be a Sasanian town, founded at the same 
time as the bridge was built across the river to conduct to the 
new capitals of Jundi-Shapur and Shuster. It was originally 
called Andamish,(| and seems to have retained this name till the 
thirteenth century : Hamdu-llah Mustauff,^f indeed, who wrote 
about A.D. 1325, is the earliest author in whom I find the name 
of Dizful. It is not very safe to trust the etymologies of the 
orientals ; but the most probable derivation of Dizful, or Dizpul, 
seems to be the bridge of Diz ; which name, although signifying 
generally, a fort, is applied in particular to a most remarkable 
scarped rock, situated near the river,** about 30 miles N. of the 
present town, and still celebrated throughout Persia, as the 

* "The two rivers." 

•j- «« Camel's hill," so called from its shape. 

I i( Middle hill," so called because it connects Ushturan- Kuh with Kuhi-Zardah. 
§ Bitumen-dyke, so called from the stones being cemented with bitumen: it is 
an error to call this place Bandi-Kil. 
|| See Jdrisi, Yakut, Ja'ihani, &c. 
^[ Author of the Nuzhatii-1-Knlub. 

** I suppose the river to have been called from the fort A'bi-Diz, or Nahri-Diz, 

F 2 



6B Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

strongest hill-fort in the kingdom. Ra'niisli was an old suburb 
of Anddmish, on the right bank of the river, and the name still 
pertains to the ruins. I find it conjectured in a modern Persian 
manuscript,* that Dizful may represent the city of Antabulus, 
which is said in old authors to be met with near Sus, or Susa. I 
have never met with the name elsewhere, but, if it really did exist, 
it would seem more probable that it applied to Jundi-Shapiir, 
which was built, according to Abu-l~faraj, after the model of 
Constantinople, and may therefore have been called by that name 
by the Greek students in its schools, Antabulus being a corrup- 
tion of the word Constantinopolis : this, however, is quite conjec- 
tural, and I very much doubt that such a city as Antabulus ever 
existed in Susiana. 

March 9th. — After remaining five days at Dizful, I rode over 
to examine the ruins of Sus.y The road for 10 miles runs along 
the right bank of the Dizful river, which here makes a remarkable 
bend to the westward : the A'bi-Balad-r (id falls into it at the seventh 
mile. This part of the plain is covered with villages, and is well 
cultivated ; being watered by canals, derived both from the river 
of Dizful and the Kerkhah : the great canal which conveys water 
from the latter is named Nahri-Hormasin,*| and is said to be de- 
rived from a point about 4 farsakhs above Sus ; and the remains of 
other water- courses, now unused, are to be seen intersecting the 
plain in all directions. At the tenth mile from Dizful, the river 
makes an abrupt turn to the S.E., and the road then leaves it, and 
stretches across the plain to the great mound of Sus, which is, from 
this point, distinctly visible on the horizon. As I approached the 
ruins, I was particularly struck with the extraordinary height of this 
mound, which is indeed so great as to overpower all the other ruins 
in the vicinity. It forms the north-western extremity of a large ir- 
regular platform of mounds, which appear to have constituted the 
fort of the city, while the great tumulus represents the site of the 
inner citadel : by a rough calculation with the sextant, I found the 
height of the lower platform to be between 80 and 90 feet, and 
that of the great mound to be about 165 feet : the platform, which 
is square, I estimated to measure £ miles and h : the mound, which 
I paced, measured 1100 yards round the base, and 850 round the 
summit. The slope is very steep, — so steep indeed, as only to ad- 
mit of ascent by two pathways. Upon the slope of the western face 
of the mound is a slab, with a cuneiform inscription of thirty-three 
lines in length engraved on it, and in the complicated character of 

* Tazkarati-Shusteriyah, a work written by a native of Sinister about 100 years 
ago. 

f In the country the name is now pronounced Shiis, but in the Geographers it is 
always written Sus. 

I For HormuzeVn, i, c. the two Hormuzes ? F.S. 



March from Zohdb to Khiizistdn. 69 

the third column of the Persepolitan tablets : this is stated to have 
been a part of an obelisk, which existed not many years ago, erect 
upon the summit of the mound, and the broken fragments of the 
other parts of it are seen in the plain below. I saw three of the 
Babylonian sepulchral urns, imbedded firmly in the soil, at a 
point where a ravine had been recently formed by the rain, in the 
face of the mound : in another place was exposed to view a floor- 
ing of brickwork, a few feet below the surface, and the summit of 
the mound was thickly strewn with broken pottery, glazed tiles, 
and kiln-dried bricks. Beyond the elevated platform extend the 
ruins of the city, probably 6 or 7 miles in circumference : they 
present the same appearance of irregular mounds, covered with 
bricks, and broken pottery, and here and there the fragment of a 
shaft is seen projecting through the soil. 

I had been very anxious, on visiting Sus, to obtain a correct 
copy of the famous bilingual inscription upon the black stone,* 
which was said to be preserved at the tomb of Daniel, and which 
had always appeared to me of the greatest importance to verify the 
recent discoveries regarding the cuneiform character : I was ex- 
tremely disappointed, therefore, to find that this most precious 
relic no longer existed. It is well known that the inhabitants of 
Susiana attached the most profound reverence to this extraordinary 
stone, and fiercely resented any attempt to rob them of it, 
believing that the prosperity of the province depended upon its 
remaining in their hands. After the failure of Sir Robert 
Gordon to obtain possession of it, in 1812, it remained buried for 
some years to secure it from observation, but having been disin- 
terred by the guardians of the tomb, it appears that in 1832 it 
was wantonly destroyed by a stranger Sayyid,| in the hope of dis- 
covering within it some hidden treasure : the whole story is very 
curious : the fragments (for it was blown to pieces with powder) 
were carefully collected, and reinterred within the precincts of 
the tomb ; but immediately afterwards the province was almost 
depopulated by the plague : the bridge of Shuster suddenly broke, 
and the famous dam at Hawizah was carried away ; all which dis- 
asters were, of course, ascribed to the destruction of the talisman : 
and as this Sayyid, also, was generally believed to have been a 
Firingi in disguise, I found the rancour against Europeans, in 
connexion with the black stone, bitter and extensive. The tomb 
of Daniel has been often described : it is a modern building, on 
the banks of the Shapur river (or Shawer, as it is generally called), 
immediately below the great mound : several bricks, stamped with 
arrow-headed characters, which have been brought from the ruins 
are built into it ; in the court is preserved a capital of white 
marble, also brought from the great mound ; and outside, on the 

* See Ouseley's Travels, vol. i. p. 420. 
f A descendant of Mohammed, 



70 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

banks of the stream, are found two blocks, one covered with a mu- 
tilated cuneiform inscription, and the other sculptured with the 
figures of a man and two lions, which have been described by Sir 
W. Ouseley, from Capt. Monteith's relation.* To the N. of the 
ruins there are mounds and tapahs in all directions, among which 
are the Tali- Suleiman, Duwasf, and Guba, and to the S. the plain 
is covered in the same manner, seven remarkable tumuli, near 
each other, being called Haft Chagan, and another very lofty 
mound Bulahiyah. 

Near the tomb of Daniel is a ruined Imam Zadah,f two of the 
corners of which are based upon broken capitals, like that pre- 
served in the court of the shrine, and under a Konar-treeJ in the 
neighbourhood I perceived another of the same sort. I have thus 
noticed, I believe, all the relics of antiquity that are to be found 
at Sus ; they are certainly less than might have been looked for, 
but they afford very satisfactory evidence of the site of an ancient 
capital of great extent. The river of Shapur, to which I have 
alluded, rises about 10 miles N. of Sus : it flows in a deep narrow 
bed, by the tomb of Daniel, and laves the western face of the 
great mound. At this point are the remains of a bridge of no very 
ancient structure, and immediately below the bridge is a ford, by 
which alone, I was assured, from near its source to the point 
where it falls into the Kuran,§ in the neighbourhood of Weis, can 
the A'bi-Shapur be crossed : the water is considered by the Per- 
sians to be particularly heavy and unwholesome, and in this re- 
spect to bear a striking contrast to the Kerkhah, which flows at 
some distance to the W., and is believed to be little inferior to the 
Kuran in the lightness and excellence of its water. We are in- 
formed by the orientals,|| that when Abu Musa Ash' an took pos- 
session of Stis, in the 17th year of the Hijrah, he dug a canal from 
this stream, and deposited in a grave at the bottom of it the cof- 
fin which was said to contain the bones of the prophet Daniel, and 
which was there held in great veneration, and afterwards letting 
the water into the artificial bed, effectually secured the grave from 
profanation. All authors, indeed, agree that the grave was in the 
bed of the stream, yet Benjamin of Tudela, pretends, that in his 
day, the coffin was kept suspended over the river, to pacify the 

* Ouseley's Travels, vol. i. p. 423. 

f Sepulchral chapel in honour of a saint, F.S. 

X Rhamnus Jujuba, or Lotus. F.S. 

§ The name of this river has been hitherto always written Karoon : the true pro- 
nunciation which corresponds with the orthography is Kuran. [Karun in Jehau- 
nuraa, p. 454. F.S.] 

|| See Ashkalu-l-'A'Iam (maps of the world) Arab MS. written by Abu-1 Kasim, 
Ibn Ahmed, ElJaYMni, in about A.H. 400, and translated into Persian by Ali-Ihn- 
'Abdu-1-Salam. This is the work, I believe, translated into English by Sir W. Ouseley 
under the title of Ibn Haukal's Geography. [That work is entitled ( Siuvaru-1- 
Buldan/ a phrase synonymous with Ashkalu-Falam. (Ouseley's Travels, vol. iii. 
p. 554.) F.S.J J 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 7 1 

Jews, upon either side,, who were contending for the holy relic : 
but I have no space here to detail the numerous stories relative 
to this shrine. The A'bi-Shapur is certainly not only navigable 
from Sus to the point of its junction with the Kuran, hut from the 
facility which its deep and narrow bed., nearly level with the sur- 
face of the plain, affords for draught, is particularly suited to na- 
vigation. The river Kerkhah is distant 1 \ mile from the great 
mound of Sus, and I could discover no trace of building in the 
interval between the rivers. 

N.W. of Sus, and at the distance of about 2 miles from the 
right bank of the Kerkhah are some very extensive ruins, which 
are known by the name of Fwani-Kerkh (the palace of Kerkh), 
or more generally simply Fwan, the palace. From the many de- 
scriptions which I have received, as well as from the view which I 
obtained of them with a large telescope, from the summit of the 
mound of Sus, I judge them to be Sasanian. The great ruin of 
Fwan appears to have been a palace, of the same style of building 
as the remains at Kasri-Shirin, Sirwan, and Seimarrah. There are 
also said to be a few mounds, apparently of more ancient date ; 
and a canal cut in the rock, which conducted water from the 
Kerkhah to the city is spoken of, moreover, as a very extraordi- 
nary work. The ruins of a bridge, which crossed the river, are 
to be seen opposite to Fwan ; the place is called Pai Pul, or the 
foundation* of the bridge, the broken buttresses now alone re- 
maining above the water. The ruins of Sus and the surrounding 
country are celebrated for their beautiful herbage : it was difficult to 
ride along the Shapdr for the luxuriant grass that clothed its banks ; 
and all around, the plain was covered with a carpet of the richest 
verdure. The climate too, at this season, was singularly cool and 
pleasant, and I never remember to have passed a more delightful 
evening than in my little tent upon the summit of the great mound 
of Sus — alone, contemplating the wrecks of time that were strewed 
around me, and indulging in the dreams of by-gone ages. In the 
afternoon of the ensuing day I prepared to return to Dizful, which 
from the summit of the mound was distinctly visible, bearing N. 
38. E. I proceeded in a direct line from the eastern extremity of 
the ruins to the river of Dizful, to determine its nearest proximity 
to the city, and I reached the bank at 6 J miles. From thence 
I galloped along the bank of the river, and got into the camp 
at dark. 

March 13th. — We marched 4 farsakhs to Kuhnak. Crossing 
the river of Dizful, by a magnificent bridge of about 330 paces 
in length, we traversed the town, and entered on a well-cultivated 
plain to the eastward. At the distance of 2 farsakhs, we met with 

* The foot of the bxidie. 



72 Major Ra^wlinson s Notes on a 

the village of Shah-abad, on our right, which I have no hesitation in 
identifying with Jundi-Shapur. In my after residence at Dizful, 
I made frequent visits to this place, for the purpose of examining 
the remains ; and, although the site of the ancient city has now 
been for many centuries under cultivation, and there is no single 
ruin, therefore, in any state of moderate preservation, yet the ex- 
tensive lines of mounds, and the numerous foundations of massive 
walls, are quite sufficient to verify the measurements of the geo- 
graphers,* which indicate this exact position. It is not to be 
denied that there are some difficulties attending the identification 
of Jundi-Shapur, which arise from the blunders of certain Persian 
writers, who appear to have been ignorant of its true position ; j 
but, after a review of all the evidence, I find no reason to doubt 
of its being represented by Shah-abad. Jundi-Shapur appears to 
have been founded by the first Shaptir, after his victory over the 
Emperor Valerian. It was enlarged into a great city by his 
seventh successor, Shapur Dhu-1-aktaf. During his reign (about 
a.d. 350), it became the see of a bishop of the Nestorian 
church, J which had been instituted in Susiana a century before ; 
and, when Jundi- Shaptir soon afterwards rose to be the chief city 
of the province,, the seat of the metropolitan, which had formerly 
been fixed at Ahwaz, or, as it is called by the Syrians, Beth 
Lapet, § was transferred to it. The school of Jundi-Shapur was 
renowned, during the reign of Anushiravdn, through the East and 
West ; || and the city continued, to the time of the Arab conquest, 
one of the great capitals of Susiana. It appears to have sunk 
before the rising greatness of Shuster, in the 1 3th century ; and 
it is little mentioned in Oriental history after that time. Jundi- 
Shapur was watered by some magnificent aqueducts, excavated at 
an immense depth in the solid rock, and derived from the river of 
Dizful, about 5 miles above that town. The water, which still 
flows in them, is now employed in irrigating the rice- fields. The 
present inhabitants of Khuzistan are so grossly ignorant, that I 
scarcely met with an individual familiar with the name even of 
Jundi-Shapur, and it was altogether in vain, therefore, to seek for 
oral information regarding its site. Shah-abad, however, is tradi- 
tionally believed in the province to represent the City of the 
Seven Sleepers ^f — a story which, wherever it prevails in the East, 
may be received as an evidence of antiquity. 

* The measurements usually given are, 8 farsakhs from Shuster, and 2 farsakhs 
from the bridge of Jnddmish or Dizful. 

f Hamdu-llah Mustaiifi thus places Jundi-Shapur on the river of Dizful. 

{' Asseman. Bib. Orient., torn. ii. p. 398; torn, iv, pp. 43, 44, and 421. 

j Asseman. Bib. Orient., torn. iv. p. 758. 

|| See Gibbon, chap. xlii. 

•jf See Tazkarati-Smtsteriyah. The real City of the Seven Sleepers was Ephesus ; 
but the story is attached traditionally to many other places in the East. See 
D'Herbelot, in Ashab-i-Kahaf. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 73 

At 2 farsakhs farther on, we reached our camp, near the ruined 
village of Kuhnak. 

March 1 4th. — We continued our march 5 farsakhs, to the bank 
of the Kuran, over a plain of the richest soil, but perfectly uncul- 
tivated. A range of low sand-hills bounds the plain to the left, 
at a distance of about 2 farsakhs, and divides it from the hilly 
district of Sar Dasht, which stretches up to the foot of the great 
mountains. Upon the right was a vast level flat, as far as the eye 
could reach. A dry canal, which was derived from the Kuran, 
at the Bandi-Dukhtar, and formerly watered this tract of country, 
is passed, midway between Kuhnak and the river ; a little ridge 
of sand-rock occurs, at the edge of the plain, and the road, 
crossing this, descends direct upon the river, the town of Shus- 
ter, which had been shut out from view by the ridge, appearing 
on the other side. The bridge of Shuster gave way at the rise 
of the waters in the winter of 1 832 ; and, not having been repaired 
when I was there, we were obliged to bring the troops and guns 
across the river upon rafts, or kalaks, as they are called, supported 
on inflated skins. We pitched our camp along the pebbly 
beach, in the bed of the river; a most unsafe position, as a 
sudden rise of the waters would have swept it away bodily ; but 
there was positively no other ground available. To the accounts 
of the city of Shuster itself, which have been already published, 
I have not much to add ; but the very erroneous opinions which 
appear to exist regarding the river Kuran require to be rectified. 

It would appear that Ardeshir Babegan, or his son, Shapur, 
after having founded Shuster, upon the left bank of the Kuran, in 
a bend of the river, excavated a deep and wide canal to the E. of 
the city, and thus divided the waters of the river. The artificial 
stream was derived from the Kuran, immediately above the town ; 
and, defending it upon the eastern face, as the original bed did 
upon the western, it rendered the position one of extreme strength : 
but the city, situated on a rising ground, between the two arms, 
could have been but indifferently supplied with water, and a fur- 
ther undertaking, therefore, was necessary to remedy this defect. 
A massive band, or dyke, accordingly, was thrown across the 
original bed of the river, at the distance of about half-a-mile 
from the mouth of the canal, narrow outlets, or sluices, being 
left for the passage of a certain portion of the water. The con- 
sequence of this was, that the great body of the river was forced 
back into the artificial derivation. Another band was then thrown 
across the mouth of the canal, forming, as it were, a continuation 
of the line of the original bank, and raised precisely to the same 
height as- the lower dyke. Here, too, the passage of the water 
was regulated by sluices ; and the entire bed of the stream 
being now formed, as it were, into a vast reservoir, the mouth of a 
tunnel was opened into it, which had been excavated directly 



74 Major Rawltnson's Notes on a 

through the hill of sand-rock forming the left bank of the river, 
between the two bands, and below the level of the water thus 
artificially elevated : a copious stream, of course, immediately 
flowed into the tunnel, and sufficient water was thus obtained for 
the supply of the town and the cultivation of a vast tract of coun- 
try extending to the S. of it. Before either of the bands, how- 
ever, were undertaken, and when the whole body of the river must 
have flowed in the artificial canal, the mouth of which had pro- 
bably been deepened for the purpose, that part of the original bed 
between the two dykes which was intended to form the great 
reservoir was paved throughout with massive hewn stones, fas- 
tened with metal clamps, to prevent the further deepening of the 
river, and to give additional strength and security to the whole 
work.* Such, as far as I can gather from Oriental authors and 
a minute personal examination, has been the general design of the 
stupendous hydraulic works of Shuster. The course of the river 
has constantly changed as either of the dykes has given way and 
yielded a free passage to the waters, and, in that case, the level of 
the water in the great reservoir having fallen below the orifice of 
the tunnel, it has become, of course, altogether useless. When I 
was at Shuster a part of the lower band had given way, with the 
breaking of the bridge above it ; and the level of the river having 
thus sunk several feet, the supply of water in the tunnel became 
reduced proportionably, and the lands S. of Shuster were thrown 
entirely out of cultivation. The band, however, has been since 
repaired ; and I now understand that the tunnel, or Nahri- 
Dariyan, as it is properly called, is quite full. 

I must now explain the names and courses of these streams, 
which have been much confused by the Oriental geographers, and 
appear even to be scarcely understood at the present day. The 
artificial canal which now forms the left branch of the river is the 
famous Nahri Masrukan of the Oriental geographers ; it subse- 
quently changed this title for Du Dangah (two parts), owing to 
its forming the channel for about two -sixths of the water, while 
the other four-sixths flowed in the original bed ; and it is now 
called A'bi-Gargar, from the name of the eastern mahulluh of 
Shuster, which it waters. Originally this canal was protracted to 
the vicinity of Ahwaz, and there entirely absorbed in irrigation. 
It traversed upon this line during the early ages of Islam the 
great city of ' Askari-Mukram, 8 farsakhs from Shuster ; f to the 
site of which, however, I have been only able to obtain this 
approximate indication. Subsequently it would seem that the Bandi- 

* In Kinneir's Map the courses of the river and canal are reversed. He makes 
the western branch the canal, and the eastern the river; whereas, the western, or 
right branch, is in reality the river, and the eastern, or left branch, the canal. It is 
curious how, after visiting Shuster himself, he could have fallen into such an error. 

■j- With regard to the Nahri-Masrukan, I have compared the accounts of Jaiham, 
Idrisi, Yakut, Abu-1-feda, Hamdu-llah, and the Tazkarati-Shusteriyah. 



March from Zohdb to Khiizistdn. 75 

Kai'sar must have given way, and that the great body of the river, 
flowing in the bed of the canal, had forced a passage into the old 
channel ; for, at the commencement of the 1 3th century, we find the 
great river of Shuster, which rose near Isfahan, and disembogued 
into the Persian Gulf, named the Dujeili Masrukan. Again, the 
march of Timur, who crossed the Du Dangah on the third march 
from Shuster towards Ram Hormuz,* is not to be understood, 
except on the supposition that at that time the course of the 
stream made a much greater deviation to the eastward than at 
present. Altogether, the elaboration of the Nahri- Masrukan is 
one of the most intricate and contradictory objects of research 
that I was ever engaged upon. Col. Chesney followed up the 
modern line of the canal from Bandi-Kir to Shuster, and I need 
add nothing, therefore, regarding its present course. The dyke 
at its mouth is now named Bandi-Shah-zadah, from its having been 
repaired by the late Prince of Kirmanshah; it seems to have 
been anciently called Bandi-Ka'isar. The original channel of the 
river which flows to the W. of Shuster is the Nahri- Tuster, or 
Dujeili-Tuster, of the geographers; it is the Chahar Dangah of 
Ti'mur's march, and, during the last two centuries, it has been 
named Kuran. When I was at Shuster, owing to the partial 
destruction of the band, the Kuran contained about four-fifths of 
the entire body of water ; at present, I understand it is reduced 
about two-thirds. Many bands were formerly constructed upon 
this stream, to divert the waters into channels to the E. and W., 
but the Bandi-Khak/j; immediately below the town, is the only 
one at present which fulfils its original purpose. The great dyke 
across the Kuran was named Bandi-Mi'zan, " the dyke of the 
balance," from its being carefully formed to the same level as the 
Bandi-Ka'isar, and above the mouth of the tunnel. The bridge, 
which is called Puli-Kaisar ( (i Caesar's Bridge," all these works 
being ascribed to Shapur's prisoner Valerian), was built upon 
this dyke, the buttresses of the bridge forming a part of the 
band. The intervening space in the bed of the river be- 
tween the two tunnels, which I have called the great reser- 
voir, is the famous Shadarwan § of Shapur, being so named 
from the stone pavement at the bottom of the river, which is said 
to be still in good preservation. This particular part of the 
river is also named, in some works, Nahri-Mah-pariyan. || It 
now remains that I should describe the tunnel. This is properly 
called the Nahri-Dariyan, but is more generally known by the 
name of A r bi-Miyandab (a contraction for Miyan-du-ab, the river 

* Murasidu-1 Ittila'. 

f Timur is stated to have left Shuster on April 17th, and, advancing rapidly, to 
have crossed the Du Dangah on the 19th. — Petis de la Croix, ii. p. 183. 
I The earth-dyke. 

§ Shadarwan signifies a carpet or flooring. 
|| The name is now corrupted into Mafanyan. 



76 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

between the two waters). It is a deep and narrow channel, cut 
directly through the hill upon which stands the castle of Sinister. 
The entire length of the excavation may be three hundred yards ; 
the breadth is fifteen feet : in many places it is cut down, in a 
direct cleft through the hill,, in others it is perforated like a 
tunnel ; the mouth is in the face of the precipice, below the 
castle, and is said to be ten or twelve feet deep. I do not con- 
sider it a work of any great labour, even for Orientals, for the 
the rock is of a very soft and yielding quality. The Nahri- 
Dariyan, where it issues from its excavated bed, flows in a chan- 
nel, which seems to have been built with the greatest care, and of 
massive blocks of stone, immediately under the ruined walls of 
the western face of the town, and elevated, consequently, above 
the pebbly bed of the Kuran ; petty aqueducts convey the water 
from hence to all parts of the town, and, when full, the canal is 
said to irrigate the whole district of Miy&ndab, to the extent of 10 
or 12 miles S. of Shuster. 

Colonel Chesney has stated, 1 * that the stream which unites with 
the eastern branch of the Kuran, at Bandi-Kir, is not the river 
of Dizfiil, but the western branch of the river of Shuster. It 
is, in reality, however, the united waters of the Dizfiil river, and 
the western, or main branch of the Kuran, which he observed to 
join the canal at that spot ; the point of confluence of these two 
streams occurring a few miles to the N. of Bandi-Kir.f 

There is no single ruin at Shuster, which can be referred with 
any certainty, to an era anterior to the Sasanian dynasty; but the 
excavated chambers in the rocks appear ancient, and if I might be 
allowed to hazard an identification, I would suggest it to repre- 
sent the Sele of Ptolemy,^ and Ammianus. §Sela',[| or Sele', 
signifies a rock, and the name seems to have been particularly 
applied to places like Petra,** and Shuster, where the early inha- 
bitants lived in these excavated chambers. The castle also of 
Shuster, which is built upon a rock thus excavated, retains to the 
present day the same title of Silasil, which it possessed at the time 
of the Arab conquest. Ptolemy's geographical position of Sele, 
too, may be explained ; and if Ammianus had any authority 
whatever for including this name in his list of the Susian cities, 
farther than the example of his model, Ptolemy, as all his other 
positions are to be identified, there will positively remain no 
representative for his Sele among the then existing cities of the 

* Journal of the Royal Geog. Soc, vol. iii. p. 265. 

f I have never myself seen the point of confluence, but I derive my information 
from the most authentic sources, particularly from a tribe of Arabs, who dwell 
upon the very spot: there is no question at all upon this point among the inha- 
bitants of Khuzistan. 

| PtoL, book vi. chap. 3. § A mm. Marc, book xxiii. chap. b*. 

j| Sela' is a Hebrew and Chaldce word, and could hardly have given rise to the 
Arabic plural sahisil, i.e. chains. F.S. 

** See Keith's Evidence of Prophecy, p, 187. 



March from Zohab to Khuzistdn. 77 

province, but either Ahwaz or Shuster : but I place no great 
dependence on these few points of coincidence, and merely offer 
the identification as conjectural. 

M. Court has spoken of a bas-relief, and monogram, upon the 
gate of the castle of Shuster.* I cannot positively deny their 
existence, but can state that I have traversed all parts of the 
castle, expressly in search of ancient relics, and that no such 
sculptures ever fell under my observation ; indeed, I consider that 
far too much importance has been attached to this building. I 
regard the edifice as quite modern, and do not believe that a 
fragment of the ancient castle of Shapur now exists. 

There is a deep and broad ditch running along the southern 
face of the city of Shuster, from one river to the other ; and this, 
when the Nahri-Dariyan has its proper supply of water, may be 
filled without any difficulty ; Shuster will then form a complete 
island, and be a place of much strength. Beyond the ditch, at 
the distance of \ of a mile, there are some ruins which I regard 
as far more ancient than the city of Shuster itself; they merely 
now present to view a quadrangular enclosure of high mounds, 
about £ of a mile square ; but from their great solidity, I judge 
them to mark the site of a town of the Babylonian ages — the line 
of the canal runs along their western face. They are believed by 
the Shusterfs, but of course, erroneously, to denote the position of 
'Askari-Mukram, and are named Lashkar, the Persian trans- 
lation of 'Askar.f The southern gate of Shuster, through which 
did really lie the road to 'Askari-Mukram, is called Darwazahi- 
Lashkar ; \ and hence appears to have arisen the title of the ruins 
adjoining it. The city of Shuster was nearly depopulated by the 
plague in 1832, and it has never since recovered its importance: 
it may now contain about 15,000 inhabitants; but Dizful is 
considered the principal town of the province. 

On the 23rd of March we moved from Shuster to march 
against the Bakhtiyari fortress of Mungasht. The canal upon 
the eastern face of the town, now called A'bi-Gargar, is crossed 
by a bridge of a single arch, which, together with the massive 
band upon which it is built, are recent erections : the bridge is at 
the distance of about | of a mile from the mouth of the canal ; 
and the band has been merely formed to force the water into 
a number of little channels, excavated in the rock to the E. and 
W., for the purpose of turning mills : these streams all unite 
again at the foot of the band, and the collected waters appeared 

* Journal of the Asiatic Soc. of Bengal, No. 35. p. 560. 

f Lashkar in Persian and 'Askar in Arabic signify an army; 'Askari-Mukram 
is said to have been so named from its originally forming the camp of a chief 
called Mukram. 'Askar Mukram, "the honoured host," was probably equivalent 
to the royal residence, the U'rdu, or court of the Moghals. F.S. 

J The Gate of Lashkar ; i. e, 'Askar Mukram. 



78 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

to me about a fifth of the whole body of the river : the district to 
the E. of the bridge is named Bolaiti. It appears to have formed 
a suburb of the ancient city, and indeed, has only become wholly 
deserted within these last few years. I do not believe, however, 
that Shuster ever extended to the westward of the Kuran, as has 
been sometimes stated. At the distance of 2 miles from the 
bridge we passed a hillock, crowned with the ruins of an ancient 
edifice, which is named Takhti-Kaisar (Csesar's throne) : the 
summit of the hill has been artificially levelled, and a palace of 
the Sasanians appears to have been built upon it : our road, in 
a general direction of S. 33. E. lay along the broad belt of low 
hills of sand- stone and gypsum, which extends along all this part 
of Zagros, between the mountains and the plain. The great 
range does not immediately overhang Shuster, as is generally 
believed ; it lay at the distance of about 5 farsakhs on our left 
hand. There is now very little fresh water to be procured upon 
this line, but anciently it appears to have been better supplied ; 
for the ruins of massive bands were visible in the beds of all the 
torrents and ravines which had been constructed to form reservoirs 
wherever a fit spot occurred. We encamped in the little plain 
of Pichistan, distant 1 1 miles from Shuster. 

March 24th. — We made another easy march of 10 miles to a 
salt stream named Shtirish, the direction and character of the 
country being the same as yesterday. The stream of Shurish 
rises in the gypsum hills, about 30 miles E. of this point; it 
flows through the extensive plain of Baitawand, to the left of the 
line of road upon this day's march,, and falls into the Kuran, 
below 'Akili, a large village, with a famous orange garden 4 
farsakhs N. of Shuster. The plain of Baitawand, so called 
from one of the tribes of Luri-Buzurg, to whom it formerly 
belonged, contains some fresh water rivulets, and is one of the 
few cultivated districts in this part of the country. On one of 
these little streams there is a magnificent ruin, which I saw from 
a distance, but which, to my extreme regret, as we were now in 
an enemy's country, and I was obliged to be very cautious, I was 
unable to visit. It is named by the Lurs, Masjidi-Suleiman, or 
sometimes Masjidi-Suleimani-Kuchuk,* to distinguish it from 
another ruin, named Masjidi-Suleimani-Buzurg,f which I shall 
hereafter speak of, and represents, without doubt, one of the 
ancient temples of Elymais. 

March 25th. — We continued our march 12 miles to Shakar- 
A'b,J a rivulet of fresh water, crossing the salt water stream 
again near our halting-place. The road lay along a valley, 

* The lesser mosque of Solomon. f The greater mosque of Solomon. 

X The sugar stream. 



March from Zohdb to Khiizistdn. 79 

between the sand-hills, covered with a profusion of wild flowers^ 
such as I have never seen equalled in any part of the E. ; indeed, 
the whole tract of country E. of Sinister, is thus carpeted, and 
presents the most beautiful appearance that it is possible to 
conceive. 

March Q8th. — After halting two days at Shakar-A'b, I accom- 
panied the Prince a distance of 3 farsakhs, to Khari-Shutur-zar,* 
where he received the submission of the Bakhtiyari chief, against 
whom our expedition was directed, and from whence we proceeded 
to the famous hill -fortress of Mungasht. The naphtha pits, which 
are passed on the road from Shuster to Ram-Hormuz, were 10 
miles S. of our halting-place. The road, which had preserved a 
general direction from Shuster of S. S3. E., here made a little 
deviation to the S., to round a range of very steep and rugged 
hills called Kuhi-A'smari, forming the outer barrier of the great 
chain which we had been gradually approaching. 

March 29th. — We marched 6 farsakhs along the skirts of 
Kuhi-A'smari to a ruined village named Taulah, situated at the 
extreme south- easternly point of the range. This was considered 
the boundary of the district of J anniki,"jr and the hill- fort of Mun- 
gasht was here visible, for the first time, bearing S. 30. E. 

March 30th. — We left Taulah at daylight, and entered the 
district of Janniki; at the distance of 12 miles, over a broken 
country, we came upon the A'bi-Zard, a stream which rises from 
the hills of Mungasht, and joining the Kurdistan river, in the 
plain of Ram-Hormuz, forms the Jerrahi.| The road, which 
had hitherto been sufficiently open the whole way from Shuster, 
for the space of about half a mile along the banks of the A'bi-Zard, 
which here pierces a rocky range of hills, became extremely 
difficult ; and I do not believe that we should have been able to 
have transported our artillery across the pass. On emerging 
from the defile we entered the plain of Baghi-Malik (the king's 
garden), a spacious and well -cultivated district, watered by the 
A'bi-Zard, and devoted almost exclusively to the production of 
tobacco. We had hitherto followed the ancient high road which 
conducted from Susiana to Eastern Elymais, and thence across 
the great range, into Central Persia. This road, which at 
the present day affords the only direct line of communication 
between Shuster and Isfahan, followed up the plain of Baghi- 



* The Khdri Shutur. or camel's thorn, is a prickly herb upon which the camels 
feed in Persia ; zdr is a mere affix of locality, as in Murgh-zdr, a place frequented 
by birds ; Nai-sa?*, a place of reeds, &c. 

f Janniki is a corruption for Juwaniki, the name of the tribe that originally 
inhabited this district. 

I Jerrahi is a name which I have never seen written : the geographers seem most 
unaccountably to have neglected all mention of this river. 



80 Major Rawlin son's Notes on a 

Malik, to the left, whilst we now pursued a track over a very 
hilly and uneven country, direct to Mungasht, distant from the 
river 20 miles. The great range, which is known by the general 
title of Mungasht, a very lofty and precipitous chain, forming 
the continuation of the line of Zagros, here bounds the district of 
Janniki-Garmasir. The face of these mountains is without a 
particle of soil or vegetation, and the highest peak is within the 
range of perpetual snow ; the hill-fort, forming the fastness of the 
great Bakhtiyari chief, who has now nearly all the tribes of 
Luri-Buzurg under his rule, is an isolated mass of rock, standing 
out detached upon the southern face of the range. The ascent 
to the fort is exceedingly steep, and the summit of the rock 
is scarped all round to a depth of about 150 feet, the only means 
of access being along a narrow and rocky shoulder, to a point 
where the scarp lowers to about 50 feet, and where it is to be 
climbed with some difficulty. The open ground upon the summit 
of the rock may measure ^ a mile in circumference, and it 
contains two perennial springs; so that, if supplied with pro- 
visions, I should consider the fort impregnable. It may be 
shelled, of course, from many positions upon the slope of the hill, 
but this would have no great effect; for there are natural caverns 
upon the summit, capable of holding perhaps 1000 men — Mun- 
gasht, or as it should properly be written, Mankhisht,* has been 
of great celebrity in the Persian wars. It formed the strong- 
hold of the A'tabegs, who reigned in the Luri-Buzurg during the 
l£th, 13th, and ]4th centuries; and one of these princes, named 
Takallah, successfully defended it against the armies of Huhiku, 
during a siege of nine months' duration. j It has been often, 
indeed, attacked, but I see no reason to doubt the reputation 
which it possesses among the Lurs, of being a maiden fortress. 

April 1st. — After remaining a day at Mungasht we commenced 
our return to Shuster, by the direct road across the mountains. 
We travelled 6 farsakhs the first day, to Tul,J the lower fort, 
and usual residence of the Bakhtiyari chiefs ; the road lying 
along the skirts of the great range, throughout the stage. At 
4 farsakhs we passed the large village of Abu-l-'Abbas (or 
Balibas, as it is called by the Lurs), on the A'bi-Zard, where it 
descends from the mountains, by a tremendous gorge, into the 
plain of Baghi- Malik. In this plain, midway between Abu-1- 



* In the Nuz-hatul-Kulub and Sharaf-Namab, it is thus written ; but at present 
it is known by no other name than Mungasht. 

f The A'tabeg relying on the signet ring of Hulaku, which was sent him in token 
of pardon, came down from his stronghold ; he was immediately seized, sent to 
Tabriz, and executed. See Sharaf-Numah. 

J The district of Janniki was named in the last century Tulghar, apparently from 
the title of this fort. 



Ma rch from Zoh a b to Khiiz is tan . 8 1 

'Abbas, and the point where I had previously crossed the river, 
are the ruins of a great city. Unfortunately I did not hear of 
these ruins until it was too late to visit them, but I acquired much 
information concerning them from the Bakhtiyari inhabitants of 
the district. The place is called Manjanik; and the ruins, which 
cover an extent of country about 4 miles in circumference,, consist 
of two distinct classes, the huge Babylonian mound, and traces 
of buildings formed of hewn blocks of stone. There are many 
distinct remains of the second class, but the great ruin of the 
place is an immense mound, described to me as little inferior to 
the castle of Sus, and believed by all the Lurs to represent the 
identical spot where Nimrod cast the Patriarch Abraham into the 
fire, with the famous Manjanik, or Mangonel, which the Orientals 
suppose to have been first used upon this occasion.* Now, it is 
well known that the Fire- worshippers refer the institutions of 
their religion, and the veneration which they attach to fire, to this 
very fable of Nimrod and the Patriarch; and I have no hesitation, 
therefore, in believing this mound, y which still preserves in its 
name and story the most holy tradition of the Magi, to represent 
the site of a magnificent fire-temple : and I shall presently relate 
many other curious circumstances which illustrate its ancient history. 
The A'bi-Zard, which flows through the plain of Baghi- Malik, 
is a delightful river, of the coldest and clearest water possible, 
chiefly derived from the snows of the hills of Mungasht ; it varies 
in volume, of course, according to the season of the year. When I 
crossed, it was a rapid torrent between 2 and 3 feet deep, and 
about 40 yards in breadth : in the month of May it is said to be 
often impassable; but towards the autumn it becomes much 
diminished. It unites with another stream some miles below 
Baghi-Malik, and, as I have stated, joins the Kurdistan, in the 
plain of Ram Hormuz, where I conclude it to represent the 
Koru Khan Kend of Timur's march, and of Kinneir's map ; 
though from whence such a name was originally borrowed I 
cannot conceive. The name occurs nowhere, I believe, except in 
Sharafu-d-din, and it certainly is not now known in the country. 
The title of A'bi-Zard, literally the yellow river, is applied to it 
on account of its exquisite clearness, Zard being often used in this 
sense, when referring to water; and it appears to have been named 
by the Arabs Nahru-1-AzrakJ (the blue river), for the same reason. 

* The flame of the furnace is said to have been so intense that no one could 
approach it; this machine, therefore, was invented to cast in the Patriarch from a 
distance. [Manjanik, anciently pronounced Manganik, was borrowed by the Arabs 
from the Greek manganicon, a military engine. Mangonel is probably from the 
Christian historians of the Crusades. F.S.J 

f This fable, which is of great antiquity, is supposed to have arisen with the 
Jewish Rabbins, who translated " U'r of the Chaldees" "the Chaldaeanyfrv/' the 
Hebrew *)^ signifying also "fire" — See Hyde, p, 74. 

J See Lee's translation of Ibn Batutah, p. 37, 
VOL. IX. G 



82 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

The mud fort of Tui, built upon a high mound, and defended 
by four pieces of artillery, may be considered formidable enough 
among the Bakhtiyaris, but it could make no resistance against 
regular approaches ; it is situated in an open plain, at the distance 
of one farsakh from the river. 

April 2nd. — I made a forced march to-day of 40 miles to rejoin 
the camp at Shakar-A'b. The passage of the hills, which upon 
the lower road we had traversed along the banks of the A'bi- 
Zard, was exceedingly difficult; indeed the descent was so pre- 
cipitous, that we were obliged to dismount, and drag our horses 
after us for the space of some miles, along the slippery face of 
the mountain. After having passed this range we pursued the 
course of a rocky valley, along the northern face of Kuhi- 
A'smari, at the north-eastern point of which we emerged from 
the mountains into the beautiful plain of Gulgir, crimsoned with 
the wild anemone, and clothed throughout with the richest 
herbage. We then crossed a range of sand-hills, and descended 
into the valley which we had followed from Shuster. This tract 
effects a saving in distance of about 8 miles ; but I doubt its 
being more expeditious than the open road to the S. ; it is rarely 
travelled except by the Bakhtiyari-I'liyat. 

At Tul I gained intelligence of other ruins in this district 
which excited in me the liveliest interest : it appears that the 
high road from Shuster to Isfahan, passing up the plain of 
Baghi- Malik to Tul, follows from thence a difficult defile, 
through the Mungasht hills, into the spacious plain of Mai- Amir. 
Here are the ruins of a city, which I believe to represent the 
Eidij of the Oriental geographers. The measurements of 3 
marches across the mountains from Shuster,* of 4 stages from 
'Askari-Mukram,| and of 45 farsakhs from Isfahan,^ will alone 
coincide with this position ; the bed of the mountain torrent, 
which was spanned by the magnificent bridge of Jirzad, a work 
of the age of Ardeshir B abegan, described by the Orientals § as 
one of the wonders of the world, skirts the edge of the ruins, and 
imperfect remains of the buttresses of the bridge are said even to 
be still visible : and we have a further proof of the identity, in the 
tradition, which reports the place to have been the residence of 
the powerful A'tabegs of the house of Fuzluyah,|| and in the name 
of Mai Amir (the chiefs house), which the ruins have assumed 
in consequence. 

* Lee's Ibn Batutah, p. 37. f Ja'ihani's Ashkalu-l-'A'lam. 

I Nuz-hatu-1-Kulub. 

§ In the Atharu-1-Buldan and Murasidu-1-Ittila', there are very curious accounts 
of this bridge. 

|| The Sharaf Ndmah gives a short sketch of this dynasty. UHerbelot has 
supposed them to have reigned in Laristan, instead of Lurisldn, — See Bib, Orient, 
torn, i., p. 280. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 83 

The place would be well worthy of examination, for the bridge 
of Jirzad must have been, according to all accounts, one of the 
most splendid buildings that the Sasanians have left in Persia ; 
and a great road also was carried from this point, across the moun- 
tains to Isfahan, which still forms the only practicable line of 
communication for loaded mules between Shuster and that city. 
The road is now called the Jadahi-A'tabeg, and is supposed to 
have been formed by those princes ; but I believe that they only 
repaired an ancient work. I recognise, in this line, the route 
which is described by Strabo, as conducting from Gabiana (the 
ancient name of the district of Isfahan) through Elymais to Su- 
siana ;* I believe that it was by the same road that Antiochus and 
Mithridates were enabled to penetrate to the fire-temples of Ely- 
mais ; and indeed, from the stupendous character of the under- 
taking, and the immense labour that seems to have been bestowed 
on it, I arn inclined to regard it as a work of the most remote an- 
tiquity. But the most interesting spot in all this country, per- 
haps even in all Persia, is the town of Susan, upon the banks of 
the Kuran, 4 farsakhs to the N.W. of Mai Amir: here also are 
the ruins of a great city, and from the accounts which I have re- 
ceived of it, it cannot be other than a sister capital of Ecbatana 
and Persepolis. The city of Susan was principally built upon the 
right bank of the Kuran, at a point where the course of the river 
was due W. Forming a semi-circle from the river, and thus en- 
closing the city, is a range of steep and abrupt hills, through 
which there is no passage, either along the banks of the river or 
at other points : a once noble bridge, now almost destroyed, con- 
nects this impregnable position with a large mass of ruins upon 
the left bank of the river, which are again bounded to the S. by 
another range of hills, extending at both points to the precipitous 
banks of the Kuran, and traversed by two solitary passes. On 
the right bank of the river, near the bridge, are said to be the re- 
mains of a magnificent palace ; the ground all around is now 
planted with orchards, but the general design of the building is to 
be traced, and many pillars still remain entire. At a short dis 
tance from hence, to the N.E., and at the foot of the hills, is the 
tomb of Daniel ; called Daniyali Akbar, the greater Daniel, in 
contradistinction to the other tomb at Sus, which is called Daniyali 
Asghar, or the lesser Daniel. The building is said to be com- 
posed of massive blocks of white marble ; and a large reservoir, 
formed of the same materials, is in front of the tomb. This is fed 
by a small stream, which here descends from the hills, and it con- 
tains a vast quantity of sacred fish, that are regarded with the most 
superstitious attachment. Adjoining the tomb is a large slab of 
marble, engraved with a perfect cuneiform inscription, and many 

* Strabo, p. 527. (p. 744 Ed, Casaub.) 



84 Major Rawlin son's Notes on a 

other broken slabs, similarly sculptured, are said to be found 
among the ruins. On the left bank of the river, the principal 
ruin is a large fort, at the foot of the southern range of hills. 
These hills are named Gilgird ; and the fort is called RaValii- 
Gilgird — from the description I judge it to be a Sasanian edifice. 
The highroad, conducting from Mai Amir to Susan, traverses the 
chain of Gilgird by a narrow pass at the S.E. corner of the city ; and 
at the entrance to this pass, from the plain of Mai Amir, is one of 
the great curiosities of the place : a large portion of the face of the 
rock has been artificially smoothened, and an immense tablet, with 
very long cuneiform inscriptions, has been engraved upon it. There 
are said to be about twenty figures sculptured upon the tablet, 
and the inscriptions have been uniformly described to me as 
fully equalling in length those of Bisutun. There is also a natu- 
ral cave near this place, which is called Shikafti-Salman,* and is 
visited as a place of pilgrimage by the Lurs. I am indebted, I 
must observe, for this description to oral information only, but I 
cannot be far wrong, for I was so particularly interested in the 
first accounts which I heard of Susan, that during my future 
intercourse with the Bakhtiyaris, I took the greatest possible pains 
to collect accurate intelligence, and after a series of minute in- 
quiries from different inhabitants of the place, at differr ±n times, I 
found all their evidence to agree in the points that I have above 
detailed. Regarding the cuneiform inscriptions there cannot be 
a question. I have repeatedly produced copies of inscriptions in 
several different characters, and in showing them to the Bakhti- 
yaris they have invariably selected the arrow-headed as the style 
of writing on the slabs and sculptured rocks of Susan. 

I heard also of the ruins of a great building, upon the banks of 
the Kuran, a short distance below Susan, which was named 
Masjidi-Suleimani-Buzurg : by the Bakhtiyaris it was usually 
likened to the superb remains at Kangawer, and it doubtless, 
therefore, marks the site of another of the wealthy temples of 
Elymais. 

I have thus noticed, I believe, all the interesting matters of 
geography which fell under my own observation, or with which I 
became incidentally acquainted during my travels in Susiana and 
Elymais. I will now state the impressions that I have derived 
from them in regard to the ancient history and comparative geogra- 
phy of these provinces ; and I do so, 1 confess, with much diffi- 
dence, for the subject is one of extreme difficulty, and I am obliged 
to disagree on some material points, from the generally received 
opinions. I must also observe, that I merely propose to state the 
general result of my researches — the line of reasoning by which I 

* Salman was 'All's tutor, and the two are associated in a joint incarnation in 
the creed of the 'Ali-Ilahis. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 85 

arrive at my conclusions being given in detail, in a work on the 
comparative geography of Persia, on which I have been engaged 
for some time in preparing for publication. 

I believe, then, that in ancient times, there were two cities of 
the name of Susan, or Susa, in the province of Susiana — the more 
ancient, which is the Shushan of Scripture, being situated at Susan 
on the Kuran, or Eulaeus ; the other, the Susa of the Greeks, at 
Sus, near the Kerkhah, or Choaspes. The river of Dizful I con- 
sider to be the Coprates; the A'bi-Zard, and its continuation the 
Jerrahi, the Hedyphon, or Hedypnus; and the united arms of 
the Kuran and Dizful river, the real Pasitigris. 

And firstly, with regard to Susan — the very expression of Scrip- 
ture, " Shusan, the palace,"* would appear indicative of a dis- 
tinction from some other city of the same name. Daniel, be it 
remembered, was in the palace, yet he saw the vision on the 
borders of the U'lai, and heard the voice between the banks of 
the river. From the mound of Sus, the Kerkhah is 1^ mile 
distant, but at Susan the river does actually lave the base of the 
great ruin. The ancient tomb of the greater Daniel may be also 
taken into account; and the cuneiform inscriptions are certain 
evidences of antiquity. As this city did not lie upon Alexander's 
march, his historians have failed to notice it ; but in the later 
geographers, who had indistinct information of the place, and con- 
founded it with the great city of the same name which formed the 
capital of the province, we discover some traces of its true posi- 
tion. Thus, when Pliny says,| that the Eulaeus surrounded the 
castle of Susa at the distance of 250 miles from the sea; and 
when Ptolemy places Susa in the north-western corner of the pro- 
vince of Susiana, upon the left branch of the Eulaeus, and upwards 
of a degree above the point of confluence of the right arm of the 
river,'! they both can only refer to Susan and the Kuran. This 
tract of country, extending S. of the Kuran, and containing the 
districts of Susan, Mai Amir, and Janniki, appears to have formed 
a part of the great province of Elymais, and after the period of 
the Macedonian conquest to have risen to much wealth and pros- 
perity — here, then, I look for the rich temples which attracted the 
cupidity of the Syrian and Parthian monarchs. 

The fire-temple dedicated to Anahid, which was supposed by 
Strabo§ and Diodorus|| to be sacred to Jupiter, and which, in the 
Maccabees,^ is named, more properly, the temple of Nanea, 
may be represented by the ruin in the plain of Baitawand : it was 
here that Antiochus the Great lost his life. The city of Elymais, 



* Daniel, chap. viii. v. 2. f Book vi. c. 27. + Ptol. book vi. c. 3. 

§ Strabo,' p. 744, || Diod, Sic. Fragm, 34, book xxvi, ^f II Mac. c. i. V. 13-16, 



86 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

which was attacked by his son, Antiochus Epiphanes,* I believe 
to be Susan ; and the temple which he sought to pillage, to be 
the superb ruin of Masjidi-Sule'imani-Buzurg : this, too, will be 
the "templum Dianae augustissimum illis gentibus," of Pliny, j 
which was situated upon the Eulaeus, below Susa. Antiochus 
Epiphanes, after his defeat, retreated to Tabae,£ the name of which 
is preserved in the modern Tab, and there expired in agony, 
either of his wounds or of a bodily malady. The third great ex- 
pedition against these fire-temples was that undertaken by the 
Parthian king, Mithridates. He is said to have robbed the temple 
of Diana, named Azara, of ten thousand talents, and to have taken 
Seleucia, on the Hedyphon.§ Seleucia is also mentioned by Pliny, 
in this quarter of Elymais ; and he names the river Hedypnus : 
now Hedyphon and Hedypnus are manifestly of Greek deriva- 
tion^ merely implying the agreeable qualities of the river ; and 
as we also know that the stream disembogued into the E ulceus, I 
am induced to identify the names with the A'bi-Zard of the pre- 
sent day. In this view Seleucia will be represented by the ruins 
of Manjanik, and the great mound which preserves the tradition 
of Nimrod and Abraham will mark the site of the fire-temple that 
fell into the hands of the Parthian king. The temple is named 
Azara, in Strabo, which is evidently a derivation from Azar, signi- 
fying fire — probably it is a mere contraction of A'zar-gah, a fire- 
temple. This temple, also renowned doubtless for its sanctity, 
throughout Persia, will thus represent the holy place of refuge, 
the " Asylum Persarum," with which Pliny illustrates the course 
of the Hedypnus : it appears even to have retained its celebrity 
after the Arab conquest, for I can discover no place which will 
agree as well as this with the great fire-temple of Marin, upon the 
confines of Fars and Khtizistan, that is described in the eleventh 
century^} as one of the most famous of the Magian places of wor- 
ship. Pliny unites with this Elymsean Seleucia, a name which I 
cannot but consider as the real appellation of the city that he had 
formerly confounded with the great capital of the province, in his 
description of Susa : I allude to Sosirate ; and as I find in the 
Persian geographers, that the Susan of Luri-Buzurg was also 
named 'Arwah, or 'Arwat,** I regard the title employed by Pliny 
as a compound of the two terms. This name of 'Arwat, applied 
to the ancient city of Susan, appeared to me, at first, a certain in- 
dication that the ancient Oroatis was to be recognised as another 
name for the river Kuran ; but I found on examination, that the 
measurements and relative descriptions of all ancient geographers 

* 1 Maccab. c. vi. v. 1 — 4. Josephus, Ant., book xii. c. 9. s. 1. 
f Plinj', book vi. c. 27. J Polyb. Excerp., lib. xxxi. Edit. Vales, p. 144. 

§ Strabo, p. 744. |j e H$i><p&ivos, sweet sounding — c H^Vvw,-, sweetly breathing. 

% By Jai'hani. ** Nuz-hatu-1-Kulub, and Zeinatu-1-Majalis. 



March from Zohdb to KMzistdn. 87 

clearly pointed out the Tab, as the representative of that river ; 
and I have not ventured, therefore, on the sole authority of an 
etymological coincidence, to impugn their distinct and united evi- 
dence. Susan, under the Sasanian monarchs, seems to have con- 
tinued a place of some consequence, and from its impregnable 
character, to have offered a fit spot for the creation of their great 
state-prison, the famous castle of Lethe, where they confined their 
prisoners of distinction. It was here that Shapur Dhu-1-aktaf con- 
fined the unfortunate Arsaces II., King of Armenia; and it was 
from hence that the Roman prisoners, taken at Dara, under the 
reign of the younger Justin, after a long captivity, effected their re- 
markable escape.* It is named by Ammianus, Agaban, j probably 
the Pehlevi word, which the Greeks translated by Lethe ; Moses 
of Chorene places it in Khuzistan,^ and from the account of 
Theophylact§ we are able to identify its exact position at Susan ; 
he names it the castle of Giligerd. I have mentioned that the 
Sasanian fortress of Susan still retains the title of KaFahi-Gilgerd; 
it was not far, he says, from Bendosabiron : by this title he al- 
ludes either to the Bandi-Shapur, at Shuster, or to the city of 
Jundi-shapur, and either indication will agree with the position of 
Susan y and he adds that it was in the district Bizaca, a name that 
may perhaps be recognised in the title of Bazuft, which still per- 
tains to a tract of country in the vicinity of Susan. The ruins at 
Sus, near the Kerkhah, certainly represent the Susa of Herodotus 
and of the campaigns of Alexander and his successors; but I 
rather suspect that the fables of Memnon,|| and his parents Tithon 
and Cissia, which were applied to this city by the early Greeks,, 
and were copied by later writers, should more properly belong to 
Shushan the palace, upon the river U'lai ; and that there may thus 
be some truth in the statement of Pliny that the younger Susa was 
founded by Darius Hystaspes. This city of Susa, on the Choas- 
pes, continued from the age of Alexander to the Arab conquest 
of Persia to be a great and flourishing capital, and it naturally 
therefore attracted to itself the traditions which really applied to 
the more ancient city on the Eulaeus. Thus, when the Nestorian 
church was established in Susiana, in the third century, the tra- 
ditions regarding the prophet Daniel became naturalised in a fo- 
reign soil : there is abundant evidence that the Syrian church 
believed this city of Susa, where they instituted a bishopric very 
shortly after their arrival in the province, *[[ to have been the scene 
of the divine revelations, and that they soon began to attach a su- 

* Cedrenus, Ed. Xyl.p. 325. Agathias, book iv. c. 28. Procopius, Bell. Pers. i.5. 
f Amm. Mar. book xxvii. c. 12. J Book iii. c. 35. § Theophyl. Sim. lib. iii. c. 5. 
|| The route across the mountains, which is named Jadahi-A'tabeg, will thus re- 
present the road of Memnon noticed by Diodorus. 
% See Asseman. torn. i. p. 3. 12 ; torn. iv. p. 781. 



88 Major Rawlin son's Notes on a 

perstitious reverence to certain spurious relics of the prophet's 
body. In these Nestorians I recognise "the followers of the 
book/'* who, at the period of the Arab conquest,, were accustomed, 
in time of drought, to carry the coffin into their churches, and in 
offering up their prayers for rain, to make use of it as an inter- 
cessor : the whole story of the tomb of Daniel, indeed,, and perhaps 
too the stone sculptured with the figures of the two lions and a 
man, I consider to have originated with the Nestorian church; 
and I regard it as not a little favourable to my belief in the dis- 
tinction of the two Susas,, that upon the banks of the Eulams, an 
ancient tomb should have existed during so many centuries, un- 
noticed and perhaps unknown, which should still at the present day 
claim to be superior to the shrine whose fame has been spread by 
the voice of superstition over the Christian, Jewish, and Moham- 
medan worlds. The history of the sacred fish also, which in Ben- 
jamin of Tudela, and also in a Persian MS.f is attached to this 
tomb upon the river of Shapur, appears to have been transplanted 
from the other shrine. In the Shapur stream, not only are there 
no sacred fish, but, as far as I can learn, there are no fish at all ; 
whilst I have noticed the ancient marble reservoir of Susan filled 
with fishes, which are daily fed by the inhabitants of the place. 

The bridge of the Choaspes, mentioned by Strabo, and by 
which Alexander travelled to Susa, is to be recognised in the 
ruins of Pai* Pul, that I have already noticed. The Sasanian 
city of Kerkh,J or Pwani-Kerkh, upon the right bank of the 
Choaspes, appears to represent the Kerkhi-Ladan of the Syriac 
writers, which was conjoined with the bishopric of Susa.§ We 
may gather that the two cities were in the immediate vicinity of 
each other, as well from this circumstance as from the fact that 
St. Simeon, the Primate of Seleucia, executed by Shapur Dhu-1- 
aklaf, at Kerkhi-Ladan, was interred at Susa: and the title 
Kerkh, which Assemanni always renders by the word city, I believe 
to have been the proper name of the place. || The Arabic geo- 
graphers, Jaihanf, Idri'sf, and Y&kut, all mention the name of 
Kerkh, or Kerkhah, among the cities of Khiizistan, distinct from 
Kerkhi-Misan, or Mohammerah, the Charax Spasinae of the 
ancients ; but, as they do not give any measurements, it is impos- 
sible to be quite certain with regard to this identification. Kerkhah 
and Susa appear to have fallen into ruin during the thirteenth cen- 
tury. I conjecture that the Choaspes derived the name of Kerkhah, 
which it still retains, from the title of this town ; but even this point 

* The story is told by Jaihani. f Nuz-hahi-1 Kulub. 

t The villages of Carhse(Diod.b. xvii. c. 11), which Alexander reached on ihe first 
march from Susa, after crossing the Kerkhah, would seem to be represented by this 
town of Kerkh. 

§ See Assemanni, torn. ii. p. 460 ; torn. iv. p. 760. 

|] Perhaps, also, this Kerkhah may be the Aracha oi Ammianus. 



March from Zohdb to KMzistdn. 89 

must remain uncertain, for neither in Abu-1-feda, nor in any other 
of the old Arabic authors, do I find any notice of the river 
Kerkhah, and I have never met with the name even, but in a single 
Persian MS. of the fourteenth century, where a most inaccurate 
account is given of its course.* I know not the derivation of the 
name Choaspes ; but there is certainly no such mountain among 
the ranges of Zagros as Kuh A'sp, horse hill, which D'Anville 
states to have given rise to the title. 

The reasons for the opinion, now almost universally enter- 
tained, of the identity of the Choaspes and Euleeus, in defiance of 
the direct statements of Strabo f and Pliny, J and the scarcely less 
direct inference of the voyages of Nearchus and Alexander, 
appears to have been the application of both the names to the river 
that flowed by Susa, and the contradictory statements regarding the 
excellent water of one of these rivers, which was exclusively drunk 
by the monarchs of Persia. I have removed the one difficulty to 
the distinction of the rivers, by the distinction of two cities of the 
names of Susa and Susan; the explanation of the other is still 
more easy. The fact is, that the waters of both these rivers, Ker- 
khah and Kuran, are almost equally renowned for their excellence. 
It is true that the Kuran, traversing the great cities of Shuster, 
'Askari-Mukram, and Ahwaz, whilst the banks of the Kerkhah 
were deserted, has become more widely celebrated throughout the 
Mohammedan world ; but in the province, at the present day, the 
Kerkhah is considered but little if at all inferior, and the waters 
of these two rivers, be it observed, are regarded now, as in ancient 
times, as far surpassing all the other streams or springs in the 
world. The Orientals, it is well known, are most particular 
about the quality of their water, whilst, at the same time, their 
habits are remarkable for permanence of character; and thus it 
would have been most extraordinary that, as we have no reason 
to believe the rivers to have changed the qualities of their waters, 
nor the Persians to have changed their taste, the Kerkhah should 
have formerly enjoyed an exclusive celebrity, when the neigh- 
bouring stream of the Kuran afforded water of an equal or per- 
haps superior quality. 

Most ancient authors, confounding the two cities of Susa, con- 
founded also the rivers, and thus described the excellence of the 
Choaspes, or Eulseus, as they referred to the one Susa or the 
other; but Pliny,§ who has distinguished the rivers, distinctly 
states also that they were both equally approved of by the Par- 
thian monarchs, and Solinus has followed his authority.|| I have 
now mentioned the chief grounds of arguments upon which I rest 
iny distinction of the Choaspes and Eulceus ; and I believe the 

* Nuz-hatu-1-Kulub. f Strabo. p. 728. J Pliny, book vi.c. 27. 

§ Buok xxxi, c. 3. [| Sol. Polyhist, c. xxxiii, xxxviii. 



90 Major Rawlin son's Notes on a 

darkness which has hitherto enveloped the subject is beginning 
gradually to disappear. 

I have stated that the real Pasitigris was formed by the junc- 
tion of the Cop rates and Eulaeus — just as we read in a Persian 
work, * " the united rivers of Dizftil and Shuster are named 
Dujeili-Ahwaz; yet the eastern branch of the river frequently 
assumed the name of Pasitigris, or simply Tigris, and more fre- 
quently the united arms retained the title of Eulaeus in their 
southward course to the sea, precisely in the same way as the 
name of Dujeil, or Dijlah, was usually applied, in the middle 
ages, to the eastern branch of the river as high as Shuster, and 
the title of Kuran, at the present day, continues to be given to 
the river after the confluence of the stream of Dizful, and as far 
even as the point of its disemboguement in the Persian Gulf. 
This river, I must also notice, is stated by the Arabs to have been 
named by the old Perskns Dijlahi-Kudak, or the Little Tigris,f 
and this was translated into Arabic by the diminutive form of 
Dijlah, Dujeil. With this indication, then, I have no difficulty in 
recognising in the Greek ttocg] the old Persian word Pas, signify- 
ing ff low, inferior," and in thus translating Pasitigris, like the 
Arabic Dujeil, "the inferior or little Dijldh." 

In fact, the identification of the rivers of Susiana, according to 
my view, appears to me to remove all the difficulties arising from 
the positive evidence of the historians, except in one solitary in- 
stance, and, indeed, to accord sufficiently well with the more con- 
fused notices of the geographers. Alexander crossed the Kerkhah, 
or Choaspes, J in his march from Babylon to Susa ; he came upon 
the Pasitigris, or Dujeili-Ahwaz, at 4 marches from Susa,§ in his 
route to Persepolis, the bridge of boats occurring, I suspect, at the 
town of Ahwaz. At the period of Alexanders return, Nearchus 
had sailed up this river to the same point; [| and when the army 
marched to Susa, he brought the fleet above Ahwaz (which, 
before the construction of the band, I conceive to have been per- 
fectly practicable) to the mouth of the Shapur river ; and from 
hence he navigated that stream to Susa.^j Alexander afterwards 
embarked on the Shapur, and, following the course of it to the 
great river, sailed down the Eulaeus (as we should say, at the pre- 
sent day, he sailed down the Kuran) to the sea, sending his shat- 
tered vessels through the Hafar cut into the Tigris. Again, 
Eumenes, retiring from Susa,** came to the Tigris — that is, the 
Kuran, Dujeil, or Dijlah. We must suppose him to have crossed 
the river immediately below the confluence of the Dizful branch, 
and then the measurement of one day's journey from Susa, which 

* Tazkarati-Shusteriyah. f Murasidu-1-Attila'. + Quint. Curt, book ii. c. ix. 
§ Quint. Curt, book iii. c. 1. Diod. Sic. book xvii. 67. || Arrian's Nearchus, 4. 

% Arrian, book vii. c. 7. ** Diod. Sic. book xix. 17. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 91 

is given by Diodorus, will be sufficiently correct. Antigonus, in 
his pursuit, could scarcely have made more than two marches to 
the Coprates, or river of Dizful ; and when it is stated that, on 
account of the extreme heat, he encamped before sunrise on the 
banks of the river, I understand this of the A'bi-Shapur. He 
probably reached the Coprates very near the point of junction, 
for the camp of his enemy was only 80 stadia distant. Why he 
should have preferred attempting the passage of the two arms 
successively, instead of crossing below the junction, like Eumenes, 
it is not easy to say ; perhaps he considered that, as his enemy's 
force was beyond the eastern branch, the passage of the first river 
would be effected without molestation, and he should be able 
afterwards to seize on the bridge which crossed the second. If 
this were his view, however, he was out-manoeuvred ; for Eumenes 
re-crossed the Kuran when a part only of his adversary's forces 
had been passed over, and, attacking them before they could be 
supported, he gave Antigonus a signal defeat. From hence 
Antigonus is said to have retired to Badaca, on the Eulaeus; and 
in this single passage is the only real difficulty which I experience 
in the whole illustration. Antigonus, of course, from his position 
on the Coprates? could not possibly have reached any part of the 
Kuran, which all other evidence points out as the real Eulaeus ; 
and I am fain, therefore, to consider this mention of the Eulaeus 
an error of Diodorus. In describing the march of Alexander 
from Susa to Ecbatana he had previously mistaken the Choaspes 
for the Tigris,* and this second error need not, therefore, so much 
surprise us. Badaca I believe to have been situated about 25 
miles N.W. of Susa, between the two arms of the Duwarij, where 
some very remarkable ruins still exist of the same character as 
those of Susa, and known in the country by the name of Patak, or 
Patakah ; and I am the rather inclined to this opinion, as there are 
no ruins upon the Kerkhah to the N. of Susa which could pos- 
sibly represent Badaca, and the place must necessarily have been 
considerably to the northward in this direction, to have enabled 
Antigonus to reach the inhabited parts of Media at Khorram-abad, 
in nine days, even by the short cut across the mountains of 
Charban.f 

We now come to the geographers. The evidence of Strabo 
principally relates to the lower course of the rivers ; and bearing 
in mind that his Eulaeus and Pasitrigris refer to the same river, I 
doubt not but that the publication of the Euphrates papers will 
serve to explain all difficulties. When he states, however, on the 
authority of Polyclitus,J that the Choaspes, the Eulaeus, and the 

* Diod. Sic, book xvii. c. 11. f P lin y> b <>° k vi. c 27. f \ Strabo, p. 728. 



92 Major Rawlin son's Notes on a 

Tigris flow all into one lake, and thence into the sea, he distin- 
guishes most satisfactorily between the two first rivers, and evi- 
dently refers to the Kerkhah, the Kuran, and the Dijlah, which 
I understand there is reason to believe did really, at one time, 
all unite their waters in a great hur, or marshy lake, before they 
fell into the sea. 

Pliny,* confused, as he always is, from the multitude of authors 
whom he consulted, is still, I believe, to be explained. He states 
that the Choaspes, or Kerkhah, fell into the Tigris, and that the 
fleet of Alexander sailed up the Pasitigris, or Kuran, from the 
sea, and in both of these statements he is perfectly correct ; but,, 
in his account of the Eulaeus, he has confounded the two rivers 
together, apparently from his confusion of the two cities of Susa, 
which they respectively watered, and this, too, may be proved, 
without much difficulty; for,, having identified his Mesobatene 
with Mah-sabadan, the Eulaeus, which traversed this district above 
Susiana, can only represent the Kerkhah; and yet, in his further 
notice of the river, the Kuran will alone answer the description. 
Thus, he states in two passages, that the Eulaeus formed the par- 
tition between Susiana and Elymais, which country, extending to 
the sea-shore, was divided from Persis by the Oroatis, or Tab ; 
and, again, that the Eulaeus received into it the Hedypnus, from 
Elymais, which river can only be represented by the Jerrahi and 
its branches, and another stream from Susiana, not otherwise men- 
tioned by him, which also clearly refers to the A'bi-Dizful. 
When again he states, that the Eulaeus surrounded the citadel of 
Susa, I cannot but recognise the Kuran and Susan; for, as I 
have shown, the Kerkhah flows at the distance of 1 \ mile from 
the great mound of Sus. His evidence, moreover, regarding the 
embouchure of the river, appears to me certainly to denote the 
Kuran; but the officers of the Euphrates expedition, who mi- 
nutely examined the lower course of the river, will be better able 
to determine this point. 

Respecting the other geographers I have little to add. Ptolemyj 
mentions only three rivers in Susiana, the Mosaeus, the Eulaeus,, 
and the Oroatis : and thus, whether his Mosaeus, or river of 
Misan, designates the Kerkhah, or the Bamishir, the Eulaeus, in- 
tervening between this and the Tab, can only denote the Kuran. 
I have before noticed the applicability of the inland course of the 
Eulaeus, given by this geographer,, to the confluence of the two 
rivers of Shuster and Dizful, 80 or 90 miles below Susan, or 
Susa. Marcian is a mere copyist of Ptolemy; and Ammianus, 
who also drew from the same source, has no further difference than 



Book vi. c. 27. fBookvi.c, 3. 



March from Zohdb to Khiizistdn. Q3 

the substitution of the name of Harax* for Eulaeus, which seems 
to have been borrowed from the town of Spasinse Charax, at the 
mouth of the river, rebuilt by Ardeshir B a began, under the 
title of Kerkhi-Misan, or Ushtun-abad.f 

I am not acquainted with the arguments that have been lately 
brought forward, to revive the old opinion of the identity of Susa 
and Shuster, or I should have more particularly noticed them. 
Such an idea does not appear to me, however, to be remotely con- 
sistent, either with the authorities of Oriental writers, or with the 
existing geography of the province. I regard the present town of 
Shuster as a foundation of the Sasanians; and, in proof of its in- 
feriority to Sus, or Susa, I may mention that it did not rise inti) 
sufficient consequence to become the see of a Christian Bishopric 
until two centuries after the establishment of the Nestorians in 
Susiana/| and when the neighbouring city of Sus had already en- 
joyed that honour for at least 140 years. 

I must again excuse the brevity with which I have treated this 
hitherto much confused inquiry, by stating that a detailed exami- 
nation of all the evidence and the inferences which I draw from 
each particular statement are embodied in a work now preparing 
for publication, upon the comparative geography of Persia. 

May ]6th. — After a further residence of a month and a half in 
the province of Khuzistan, during which time I gained much of 
the intelligence that I have here communicated, I left Dizful with 
a small party, and without baggage, for Khorram-abad. There are 
three roads between these points : the high road of ten kafilah 
stages, which conducts along the line that I have already de- 
scribed to Chuli-Jaidar, and from thence strikes north-eastward 
to Khorram-abad; the second of eight stages, which diverges from 
the A'bi-Zal, and crossing the Kail tin range, rejoins the high- 
road at Dehliz; and the third, directly across the mountains, in 
a line nearly due N., which curtails the distance between the 
two points to four long marches. I preferred this last road, as well 
on account of its shortness, as from its never having before been 
travelled by an European. I marched the first day 8 farsakhs, 
to the plain of Kir A'b (the bitumen water). The road tra- 
versed the plain of Dizful, in a direction due N., to the western 
point of the fort of Tangawan, and, rounding this, descended 
among some very steep ravines to the little plain of Kir A'b, 
which lay at the extreme roots of the great range between the 
stream of Balad-rud and the mountains. I was not a little sur- 



* Book xxiii. c. 6. \ Tabari and Murasidu-1-Attila.' 

I The Christian church was established in Susiana about a.d. 260. St. Milles, 
bishop of Susa, suffered martyrdom in a.d. 330 ; and Phuses was first appointed 
bishop of Shuster in about a.d. 460. See Asseman. torn. iv. p. 421 j torn. i. p. 12 j 
and torn, i. p. 353, 



94 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

prised to detect among these steep ravines the evident traces of a 
broad paved road, leading into the secluded plain of Kir A'b, 
which appeared to come from the direction of Sus. 1 also found 
a heap of mounds in the plain, the remains of an ancient town ; 
and uniting these indications with the bitumen pits, which abound 
in the neighbourhood, and from which the place has obtained its 
name, I could not but fancy that I beheld the site of the Eretrian 
colon j of Ardericca. It is true that the distance in a right line 
from Susa is too much to accord with the 210 stadia of Herodotus, 
and he seems to have actually visited the place himself;* but, in 
all other respects, it will agree sufficiently well both with his 
account and with that of Damis.f The liquid bitumen is col- 
lected at the present day in the same way as is related by He- 
rodotus : the ground is impregnated with this noxious matter, and 
the waters are most unwholesome. The Balad-rud may be the 
stream that was brought round the town to defend the Greek 
colonists from the attacks of the barbarians ; and the rising ground 
behind the ruins is, at the present day, the part of the district 
chiefly under cultivation. I must also observe, that there are 
positively no bitumen or naphtha pits in all Susiana but at this 
place, and near Ram Hormuz ; J and of these two, Kir A'b has 
certainly the best claim to be considered the site of Ardericca. 
Larcher§ indicates the exact bearing from Susa, I know not on 
what authority, as N., inclining a little to the east, and this will 
exactly suit the position of Kir A'b. Kir A'b forms the Kishlak, 
for some 200 or 300 families of the Raki and Papi Lurs ; but it 
is disliked as a residence, on account of its unhealthiness. 

May 17 th. — We crossed on foot a most precipitous range of 
hills, a prong of the great chain, rising up abruptly behind Kir 
A'b, and descended into the beautiful glen of Tangi-Zardawar. 
Our horses were with difficulty dragged over this range; and a 
mule, heavily laden, could not have passed it. The Tangi- 
Zardawar is a narrow and richly-wooded valley, running up in a 
direction of N. 20 W. for about 20 miles, into the range between 
a line of rocks of immense height, and almost perpendicular. 
After a march of 5 farsakhs, we reached the head of the valley, 
and here an attack of fever and ague obliged me to halt, the effects 
of one night's sojourn in the pestilent plain of the Eretrian colony. 

We were now approaching the wildest part of the Lurish moun- 
tains, inhabited by the tribe of Dirikawand, who, confiding in their 
fastnesses, have been long in a state of open rebellion, and who 
subsist almost entirely by the plunder of travellers. We were, 

* Herodotus, book vi. c. 119. f Philostrat. Apollon. Vit. book i. c. 24, 

m % Also at Bandi-Kir, or Kil, see p. 51 ; and again between Shuster and Ram 
Hormuz, see p. 51. 

§ Laicher's Herodotus, vol. vii. p. 36. 



March from Zohdb to Khitzistdn. Q5 

therefore, well on the alert ; but a party of these marauders, who 
surrounded our little camp throughout the night, contrived to 
carry off a number of stray articles ; and, in the grey of the morn- 
ing, two of our servants were seized by them and stripped of 
everything. 

May 18th. — At the head of the valley the great hills rise up 
almost perpendicularly to a tremendous height, and seem to shut 
out all further progress. A rocky path, however, conducted us to 
the summit, after a most tedious and difficult ascent of two hours ; 
and here, from the sultry plains of Susiana, where, at this season, 
the heat is almost insupportable, we found ourselves suddenly 
transported into a climate where the snow lay deep in all the 
sheltered crevices of the mountains ; and the trees, which in the 
plain were in their full summer foliage, were only just beginning 
to show their early sprouts. As I knew that I should cross some 
of the most elevated land in Luristan, I had brought with me a 
mountain barometer to determine the elevation of some of the 
highest peaks ; the tube, however, was broken by the fall of the 
servant, who had charge of it, in the ascent of this mountain, and 
I thus lost an opportunity which may probably never occur again. 
This mountain is named Bi-A'b,* from its possessing no water, 
but that supplied by the melting of the snows ; it is a continuation 
of the outer chain of Zagros, being connected with the range of 
Mangerrah to the west, where there is a hill fort of some celebrity 
in Oriental history, and with the great mountain of Shah-zadah 
Ahmed, to the east, so called from the tomb of a pir of that 
name, which is built upon its summit. This Shah-Z&dah Ahmed 
is stated to have been one of three brothers ; the other two were 
Sultan Mahmud, interred at Hulilan, near Kirmanshah, and 
Sultan Ibrahim, who, under the name of Baba-buzurg (the great 
father), is worshipped as the Deity throughout Luristan. Shah- 
zadeh Ahmed and Sultan Mahmud are included among the 
Haft-tan by the 'All Ilahis, and both of the shrines, therefore, are 
places of much sanctity. After a gradual descent for some miles 
from the hill of Bi-A'b, we crossed another ridge of the great 
chain, called Kuhi-Anarah-rud, to a stream of the same name, 
which forms the left branch of the A'bi-Zal. Beyond this stream 
again we traversed a third range, called Kal Aspad,f to the bed 
of the A'bi-Zal, salt even in this early part of its course, and filled 
with huge fragments of rock, similar to those which I found below. 
The country all around here, as far as the eye can reach, presents 
to view a mass of the most tremendous mountains, which appear 
so intermingled with each other, that it is not easy at first to detect 
their proper lines. From the bearings, however, which I took 

* Pronounced in Lurish, Bi-A'u. f The white peak. 



96 Major Rawlins on^ 4 Notes on a 

from the highest peaks, and from the information of our guides, 
I was able to distinguish that these three ridges of Bi-A ; b, Ana- 
rahrud, and Kal Aspad, were all parts of a single chain connected 
with the line of Kailun, Kirki, and Mangerrah, and forming the 
outer barrier of Zagros. In a little defile to our left hand, as we 
crossed the Kal Aspad, we saw a tomb named the Imam Zadahi- 
Pir Mar,* a shrine of great celebrity in Luristan. This saint is 
said to have possessed the miraculous power of curing the bite of 
all venomous serpents ; and,, at the present day, whenever a Lur 
in the vicinity is bitten by a snake, he repairs to the shrine, and, 
according to popular belief, always recovers. The descendants of 
this holy personage, too, claim to have inherited the miraculous 
power, and I have certainly seen them effect some very wonderful 
cures. The Lurs believe that the cure is performed merely by 
the touch of the cold blade of a knife which belonged to the great 
Pir Mar, and is still preserved in his family; but I saw that the 
real antidote, which, however, is not a little curious, was contained 
in a poultice of leaves and wild herbs kept constantly applied to 
the wound. f We halted at an open spot in a wooded valley, 3 
miles beyond the A'bi-Zal, having been ten hours in crossing the 
great chain from the head of the Tangi-Zardawar. 

May 1 Qth. — We were still in a very high country, as we might 
perceive by the freshness of the air, and by the trees being not 
yet in full leaf. After crossing another little stream which falls 
into the A'bi-Zal, we commenced the ascent of the second chain, 
named Kuhi-Gird.J This was not quite so difficult as the ascent 
of the mountain of Bi-A'b; but still we were obliged to perform it 
on foot, dragging the horses after us with much labour. From 
the summit of the mountain we could trace down the valley of the 
Kerkhah, at many points overlooking the heights of Kailun and 
Kirki, and through one opening in the Mangerrah range, we ob- 
tained a view of the low country of Susiana, stretching away in a 
sea of mist farther than the eye could reach. The descent of the 
Kuhi Gird chain occupied two hours ; and in the little plain of 
Tayin at its foot, the change from a cold to a hot climate again 
became most marked. Tayin is a narrow plain stretching W.N. W. 
and E.S.E. between two great chains of mountains, and watered by 
a stream which falls into the river of Khorram-abad ; it is now 
uncultivated, but retains the marks of former habitation. We 
had been only five hours from our last stage, but the return of my 
intermittent fever obliged me to halt. Our provisions were now 
expended, for we had calculated on reaching Khorram-abad upon 

* Pir Mar signifies " Saint Snake." 

t The moral effect of confidence would also have some share in the patient's 
recovery. 

\ Round hill. 



March from Zohdb to Khiizistdn. 97 

the fourth day. I therefore made an exertion in the afternoon, 
after the height of the fever was over, to push on to the plain of 
Khorram-dbdd, where we might procure supplies; but I was un- 
able to proceed more than a farsakh and a half over a low range 
which formed the outer line of the third great chain, and our 
party accordingly went fasting to bed on the banks of the little 
stream of Kayun. 

May 0.0th. — We now began to cross the third great chain, 
which, in this part of the line, is called Kuhi-Haftdd Pehlii (the 
seventy-sided hill), to denote its infinite ramifications. It was 
here formed of two ridges, between which there was some extent 
of open table-land, which is one of the Yailaks of the tribe of 
Dirikawand. From the summit of the northern ridge we saw the 
rich plain of Khorram-dbiid stretching at our feet; and, after a 
wearisome descent through a thick forest of oak-trees, which occu- 
pied us nearly three hours, we at last reached a camp of l'liyat, 
and were kindly received by a Sayyid, a descendant of Shah-zadah 
Ahmed, as he averred, who entertained me with a number of 
curious stories regarding the faith and superstitions of the Lurs. 
This was the first inhabited spot that we had seen since we left 
the plain of Kir A'b, and the party, having fasted now for forty 
hours, enjoyed with no small relish our l'liyat repast. After 
breakfast I rode into Khorram-abad, a distance of 5 miles from 
the foot of the hills, through a richly- cultivated district thronged 
with villages and gardens. The general direction of our line from 
Dizful had been three or four points to the eastward of N., instead 
of N. 22° W. as I had been led to expect from the maps. Indeed, 
from the comparison of a number of routes, I cannot but conclude 
that Khorram-abad has been laid down very erroneously in the 
maps hitherto published; and I regret much therefore that I 
omitted, during my short stay, to determine the position astrono- 
mically. 

Khorram-dbad is a singular place ; a range of rocky hills 
stretching across the plain, in the usual direction of N.W. and 
S.E. has been suddenly broken off to admit the passage of the 
river, for the space of about three-quarters of a mile, leaving, in 
the centre of the open space, a solitary rock nearly 1000 yards in 
circumference ; the rock is very steep, and near its summit is a 
most copious spring. This is the fort of Khorram-abad. It is 
surrounded by a double wall at the base, and the summit, where 
the palace is built, is also very strongly defended. The palace, 
which was erected by Mohammed 'Ali Mirza, is a very elegant 
building. A magnificent reservoir, 60 yards by 40, which is fed 
by the spring, has been formed within it, and there is also a gar- 
den of some extent. The fort contains exclusively the palace and 

VOL. IX. H 



98 Major Rawlin son's Notes on a 

its dependent buildings. The modern town, which is small, con- 
taining not more than 1000 houses, is built below the fort upon 
its south-western face. The river, a broad shallow stream, passes 
along to the S.E. of the fort and town ; the banks are covered with 
gardens, and among these are to be seen the remains of the old 
town, the capital of the A'tabegs of Luri-Kuchuk. A lofty brick 
minaret, of the class peculiar to the Seljukian ages, is chiefly con- 
spicuous, and there is also a very curious massive stone pillar 
inscribed all round with an Arabic inscription, in very legible 
Cufic characters, which I much regret having had no time to copy 
during my short stay ; for, in looking it over, I could distinguish 
the name of Shuja'u-d-din, the first of the A'tabegs, and I doubt 
not but it would throw much light on the origin of this powerful 
dynasty of the Khurshidis,* regarding whom so little is known in 
Europe, or even in the East itself. 

The name of Khorram-abad does not occur, I believe, in 
writers antecedent to the fourteenth century. Before that period 
the place was called Samba, or Diz Siyah,f the black fort, in allu- 
sion to the colour of the rock upon which the castle is built. In 
the old geographers it seems to be indicated by the name of Sha- 
purkh-ast, at least I can find no other possible representative for 
that city ; and this title would denote a Sasanian origin. There 
are no sculptures, however, at Khorram-abad, or, indeed, any 
remains that I should ascribe to a higher antiquity than the 
eleventh or twelfth century. 

The common Lurs, it is true, believe that there is a great tablet 
in the range of YaTtah-kuh, to the N.W. of the city, sculptured 
with the figure of a man and his dog, or rather that this man 'All 
and his dog were suddenly removed to the face of the rock, and 
there turned into stone, to be found there for ever ; J but all in- 
telligent individuals whom I have questioned do not pretend any- 
thing more than that, in an inaccessible part of the mountain, the 
natural rock presents something like the appearance of these two 
figures. I mention this, as I have heard it surmised by many 
Persian travellers, from the reports current among the Lurs, of 
the wonders of Khorram-abad, that it might represent the site of 
the Baghistane of antiquity. The fort of Khorram-abad, from its 
peculiar position, however, must always have been a place of some 
consequence, and formed, probably, from remote antiquity, the 



* This dynasty reigned inLuri-Kuchnk from a.d. 1155 to about A.p. 1600. The 
Sharaf Namah contains the only detailed account of them that I have ever seen. 
D'Herbelot has not noticed them. 

f Sharaf Namah, Nuz-hat-u-1-Kulub. 

X They thus explain the meaning of the title Yaftah-kuh. 



March from Zohdh to Khuzistdn. 99 

abode of the ruler of these wild regions. I am inclined, there- 
fore, to recognise, in its title of Diz Siyah, or, which has nearly 
the same signification, JKuh Siy&h,* the word in which originated 
the title of Cossaean, applied by the Greeks of Alexander to the 
inhabitants of these mountains. The particular tract of country, 
however, between Media and Susiana, bounded to the E. and W. 
by the river of Dizful and the Kerkhah, appears to be the Cor- 
biane of Strabo;j- and this title is of course identical with the 
Mount Charban of Pliny, J and the Corbrynae of Polybius ; § but 
to the illustration of this name I have no clue in the modern geo- 
graphy of the district. 

The road from Khorram-abad to Kirmanshah has been tra- 
velled by many Englishmen, and I need give, therefore, no very 
detailed description. The direct road leads by the plains of 
Alishtar and Khawah to Harsm; but this is impracticable in win- 
ter from the deep snow, and the route then follows a somewhat 
circuitous line by the Piili-Taskan, a magnificent Sasanian 
bridge, now in ruins, which crossed the river Kashghan, and from 
thence, along a line of sheltered valleys, to Hulilan on the Cho- 
aspes, where it joins the road from Jaidar. The Puli-Taskan is 
said to be the noblest ruin in all Luri-Kuchuk. It contains an 
inscription which I suspect to be Cufic, but which may possibly 
be Pehlevi, and is thus well worthy of examination. The bridge 
seems to have been built by the Sasanian monarchs to facilitate the 
line of communication between Hamadan and Susiana. 

May 24th. — I left Khorram-abad in the afternoon, and rode 
3^ farsakhs to Robat.[| The road traversed an open valley for 
2J farsakhs along the course of the right arm of the stream of 
Khorram-abad, and then, for another farsakh, passed among low 
hills to the village of Robat. 

May 25th. — I made a long stage to-day of 9 farsakhs, to the open- 
ing of the plain of Khawah. After riding 2 farsakhs among low hills 
richly wooded with the belut, we came upon the A'bi- Kashghan, a 
deep and impetuous stream, which, dividing at this point into a num- 
ber of narrow branches, we passed upon I'liyat bridges of woven 
boughs. At another farsakh, also among hills, we descended into 
the plain of Alishtar, and soon afterwards reached the A'bi- Alish- 
tar, a shallow river, which we forded without difficulty. The 
plain of Alishtar is a vast level flat of great extent, bounded upon 
the E. by a noble chain of mountains, named Chihil Na-Bali- 
ghan^f (from a story of forty children who here suffered martyr- 

* Kuh Siymk merely signifies "the black hill." Diz is applied to a hill forming 
a fort. 
f Strabo, p. 745. J Pliny, bookvi, c. xxvii. § Polyb. book v. c. xliv, 

|| A caravanserai* ^f The forty infants. 

H 2 



100 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

dom), which divides it from the territories of Nihawand and 
Burujird, and on the W, by another very lofty range, called Sar 
Kushti, where the Lurs suppose the ark of Noah to have rested 
after the Flood. The skirts of Chihil Na-Balighan are covered 
with villages, and around them is much cultivation. The great 
body of the plain, however, is pasture-ground, and Fliyat encamp- 
ments were scattered over its whole surface. We rode across this 
plain, a distance of 5 farsakhs, and, ascending some rising ground, 
encamped, after another farsakh, among the low hills at the 
opening of the plain of Khawah. 

May 26th. — I made another long march of 9 farsakhs, to Harsfn. 
For 2 farsakhs we traversed the lower plain of Khawah, which is 
a level flat like Alishtar, and is watered by two streams descend- 
ing from the mountains of Girun (a continuation of the chain of 
Chihil Na-Balighan), and uniting at the western extremity of the 
plain. After crossing the second of these streams, we began to 
ascend the high table-land of Khawah, which is considered to 
afford the best summer pasturage in Persia. The ground rises 
very gradually, for the space of about a farsakh, to the high downs 
which form the grazing-lands, and here the country is certainly 
very beautiful. It is everywhere broken into knolls, and inter- 
sected throughout by rivulets, at intervals of about 300 or 400 
yards. The herbage is of the richest possible description; and 
there were probably not less than 20,000 families of Fliyat scat- 
tered about, in small encampments, with their flocks and herds 
grazing over the downs apparently in countless numbers. To the 
S.W. of this high table-land is seen the range of Bawalfn, rising 
again, after a short interval, under the name of Sar Kashti, and 
from thence prolonged to the Yaftah-kuh of Khorram-abad. A 
glen upon the north-eastern face of these mountains of Bawalin 
contains the tomb of Baba Buzurg, the most holy spot in Luris- 
tan ; for the common Lurs have no idea of religion farther than 
the worship of this their national saint. 

In the rich and extensive grazing-grounds of Khawah and 
Alishtar, I am inclined to recognise the plains called Nisaean, 
which were visited by Alexander, from Baghistane,* or Bisutun, 
upon his march from Susa to Ecbatana. There is no subject, 
perhaps, which has been treated with more confusion, by the 
writers of antiquity, than the Nisaean horses and the Nisaean 
plains. It is evident that the Nisaean horses were a particular 
breed, distinguished for their size, strength, and beauty, and 
cherished, therefore, with the most jealous care by the monarchs 
and nobles of Persia ; and yet the blundering Greeks would wish 

* Diod. Sici book xvii. c, xi, Arrian, book vii, c, xiii, 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 101 

us to believe that they abounded in countless numbers in the great 
horse-pastures of Media, which they would thence denominate 
the Nisaean plains. There is every reason to conclude that the 
Nissean horse came originally from Nesa, in Khorasan, the Nisaea 
of the Greeks,* and that it is to be identified with some of the 
Turkoman breeds of the Atak, which are still distinguished 
throughout Persia for their superior excellence. It is not impos- 
sible even that the breed may have become partially naturalised 
in some of the royal studs which were pastured in the Median 
plains ; but that the Nisaean horse was the common and indigenous 
native of these plains,, and had increased at one time to the enor- 
mous number of 150,000,, is opposed alike to reason, and to the 
circumstantial evidence of the historians. 

With Herodotus, f who was most imperfectly acquainted with 
the geography of Media, originated the error of transferring to 
that province the Nisaea of Khorasan; and all later writers either 
copied or confounded his statement. Strabo alone has escaped 
from the general confusion ;J he describes the great horse-pas- 
tures as extending along the whole line of Media, from the road 
that led from Babylon to the Caspian gates, to that conducting to 
the same place from Persia, that is, from Bisutiin to Isfahan ; and 
thus we at once recognise the great grazing-plains of Khawah, 
Alishtar, Hum, Silakhur, Burburud, Japalak, and Ferfdun, 
which thus stretch in a continuous line from one point to another, 
along the southern frontiers of Media. Strabo nowhere says that 
the Nissean plains were in the vicinity of the Caspian gates, al- 
though his epitomiser seems thus to have understood him ; neither 
does he even apply to the Median pastures the name Nisaean — he 
merely states that the plains were called Hippobotos, and that, 
according to the opinion of some, they produced the Nisaean 
horses. 

His name of Hippobotos I suspect to be hellenised from Si- 
lakhur, which bespeaks its own derivation from Sir A'khur, a full 
manger,^ and which is the most extensive and celebrated of all 
these grazing plains. Alexander, I doubt not, moved from his 
sultry camp at Bisutun to the Yailak of Alishtar, which is even 
now a favourite summer residence with the rulers of Kirmanshah, 
and, after remaining a month among the horse-pastures, travelled 
in seven marches to Hamadan. It was also from these plains, 
must add, that Python brought in his supply of horses and beasts 

* Strabo, p. 509. Isidore, in Hudson, p. 7. f Book vii. c. xl. 

% Strabo, p. 525. This passage has been often misunderstood : I follow the trans- 
lation of the French Academy. 

§ The letters / and r are constantly confused in Persian names. 



10£ Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

of burden to the camp of Antigonus,* in the adjoining district of 
Khorram-abad, after the perilous march of the Grecian army 
through the mountains of the Cossaeans. We travelled for 4 
farsakhs across the rich downs that I have described,, and then 
descended into a hilly country, intervening between Khawah and 
Harsin. This was the frontier district of Luristan and Kirman- 
shah ; and, as I have now finished my geographical remarks, I 
will endeavour, before I bid adieu to the province, to give a slight 
sketch of the manners and general statistics of the tribes that in- 
habit it. 

Luristan is divided, as I have stated, into two provinces, Luri- 
Buzurg, and Luri-Kuchuk. The inhabitants of Luri-Buzurg are 
now classed under the general title of Bakhtiyaris, but originally 
this name merely applied to a small tribe, one of the twenty-six 
distinct clans among whom the province was divided. The 
Bakhtiyaris, with their dependencies, number at present 28,000 
families ; they comprise, exclusive of dependencies, three divisions, 
the Haft Lang, the Chahar Lang, and the Dindrums. Their as- 
sessment is fixed at 100 Katirs (mules), the term Katir, however, 
being merely conventional, and used to denote a sum of money ; 
which is increased or diminished according to the prosperous state 
of the tribes, and the power of the Persian government to exercise 
authority over them. The institution of this assessment is very 
ancient, and in the time of the A'tabegs, when the province was 
in its most flourishing state, a Katir seems to have been equivalent 
to 1000 Tomans — at present it is valued at lOOTdmans; but the 
government for many years has been unable to realise this amount, 
or even, upon an average of 20 years, a moiety of it. The follow- 
ing table describes the general distribution of the clans, and their 
respective assessments : — 

* Diod. Sic, book xix. c. ii. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 



103 



M 
PS 

w 



he famous hill-fort of Diz be- 
longs to this tribe. 
his tribe is under the govern- 
ment of Burujiid. 


2a 
111 

H s £ 


S3 5 « 

^ 0> 4> 

"8 *£ 


j divisions half the 
are Dili Nishins, 
; emigrate at all. 
Janniki-Sardasir, is 
e village ; perhaps 
y be called a town. 


ais is an Afshar tribe, trans- 
planted into this country by 
Nadir Shah. They are noto- 
rious thieves. 


§3-2 

g drCJ 

rt to ^ 


i martin con 
ber of vill 
part only 
Nomadic. 


In both thes 
numbers 
■who do no 

v Lurdagam,in 
a very larg 
even it ma 


H H 


s 


ft 


H 






< 



<©OP«0<OQQ«9 



o 

W 
ft 
So 
h 



,£3 c3 

1.2^ 

J£fl 


W *g v £ fl to 






UyJ V-v*-' 



«M^ 


^S 


«S 


S Sj 


m f? 


5 * 

12 t3 


ag 


a a 

es 2 


ffiS 


OJ 


W^ 


^W 






i! 



•noisiAtd 
*«aiO 
qoBa jo 






qoBa jo 



0000 0000 © 
ooo3 0000 © 

T*GN p-tr-lrHl t* 



OO 



s 

3 







*T3 

•-S3 M 
BQP 



/-•A—t ,«»*«*% 



ft 






1 a otj 
IS a S 



(» o 



•sapuapuodoQ^ 



104 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

The main power of the Bakhtiydris, as will be seen by this 
table, lies in the hands of Mohammed T&ki Khan, the chief of 
Janniki', who is a lineal descendant of 'All Mardan Khan, the 
Bakhtiyari king of Persia, in the times of anarchy that succeeded 
the death of Nadir. At the outset of his career he was the ac- 
knowledged chief of his own single tribe, and he owes his present 
powerful position solely to the distinguished ability with which he 
has steered his course amid the broils and conflicts of the other 
tribes. The clans, one by one, have sought his protection, and 
enrolled themselves among his subjects; and he can now, at any 
time, bring into the field a well-armed force of 10,000 or 12,000 
men. He collects his revenues according to no arbitrary method, 
but in proportion to the fertility of the districts, and the prosperous 
state of his villages and tribes. He has done everything in his 
power to break the tribes of their nomadic habits, and to a great 
extent he has succeeded. InFeridun he has purchased very ex- 
tensive lands, where he has founded numerous villages, and in the 
plain of Ram Hormuz, which he farms of the Shiraz government 
for 3000 Tomans annually, he has also settled a vast number of 
peaceful colonists. The Bakhtiyaris pursue a certain extent of 
traffic. They exclusively supply Khuzistan with tobacco from 
Janniki : they also export a small quantity of grain ; and the Isfa- 
han market is furnished, during the summer, with mutton, almost 
entirely from the Bakhtiyari flocks : the cherry-sticks, for (Chibuk) 
pipes, which grow in profusion among their mountains, would also 
prove to them, if steadily pursued, a most lucrative line of traffic. 
Charcoal, gall-nuts, gum mastic, and the sweetmeat named Gaz, 
or Gazu,* form the only other exportable articles, I believe, which 
their country affords. 

The Haft Lang tribe, who formerly doubled the number of 
the Chahdr Lang, have been the victims of their never-ending 
conflicts with each other. For many years, during the reign of 
the late Shah, they were the terror of Kafilahs, and at one time, 
indeed, threatened to put an end to the traffic between the south 
of Persia and the capital. They have not become in any way 
divested of their predatory habits, but intestine quarrels have not 
of late left them leisure to indulge in them. The constitution of 
the Bakhtiyari system of clanship is quite distinct from that of the 
tribes of Luri-Kuchuk : in the one, each tribe has its acknow- 
ledged chief, who rules over his particular subjects with despotic 
sway : in the other, the great tribes have no regular head, but 

* The Gaz, or Gazu, which is much used for making sweetmeats in Persia, is a 
glutinous substance, like honey, deposited by a small green insect upon the leaves 
of the oak-tree. See Diod. book xvii, c. viii. Tit is the manna of the chemists. 
— F.S.] 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 105 

each petty subdivision is governed by its own Tushmal, and they 
all meet as equals on great occasions,, to discuss their common in- 
terests. It is true that Mohammed Taki Khan has exerted him- 
self much to break the control of these feudal dependents ; but 
the tendency of his system is merely to merge the power that was 
before separately exercised into the consolidation of his own indi- 
vidual authority. The great wealth of the Bakhtiyaris, as is the 
case with all nomadic tribes,, consists in their flocks and herds. 
They are naturally most averse to agriculture, and until the last 
15 or 20 years they always migrated in a body to the warm pas- 
tures of Khuzistdn, on the approach of winter, and at the return 
of spring again moved back to their Yailaks around Zardah Kuh, 
and along the northern skirts of the great range, from Isfahan to 
Bumjird. 

In matters of religion they are lax, but still they are outwardly 
Mohammedans, and neither respect nor understand the mystical 
tenets of the 'Ali Ilahis. Their language is a dialect of the 
Kurdish, but still differing in many respects, and more particularly 
in their method of pronunciation, from any of the other modifica- 
tions of that tongue which are spoken by the different tribes ex- 
tending along the range of Zagros. I believe them to be indi- 
vidually brave, but of a cruel and savage character ; they pursue 
their blood feuds with the most inveterate and exterminating spirit, 
and they consider no oath nor obligation in any way binding, 
when it interferes with their thirst of revenge ; indeed the dread- 
ful stories of domestic tragedy that are related, in which whole 
families have fallen by each others' hands (a son, for instance, 
having slain his father, to obtain the chiefship — another brother 
having avenged the murder, and so on, till only one indivi- 
dual was left), are enough to freeze the blood with horror. It 
is proverbial in Persia, that the Bakhtiyaris have been obliged to 
forego altogether the reading of the Fatihah,* or prayer for the 
dead, for otherwise they would have no other occupation. They 
are also most dexterous and notorious thieves ; indeed, I have 
myself seen instances of their dexterity in conveying a horse out 
of a stable, in an inner court, which was particularly watched, and 
padlocked, moreover, with a chain, for security, that, unless I had 
witnessed, I could not possibly have believed. Altogether they 
may be considered the most wild and barbarous of all the inha- 
bitants of Persia ; but, nevertheless, I have passed some pleasant 
days with their chiefs, and derived much curious information from 
them. 

* The first chapter of the Koran, used by the Mohammedaus much as the Pater- 
noster was anciently used by us. Most Turkish epitaphs end by the words, " Fati- 
hah ruhim ichun"*— li Say a Fatihah for his soul."— F. S. 



106 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

The tribes of Luri-Kuchuk are far more numerous than the 
Bakhtiyaris ; with their dependencies they number 56,000 families. 
The assessment of the tribes of Pish-kuh is fixed at 120 Katirs, 
or mules, but the distribution fluctuates at the discretion of the 
Persian governor ; the tribes of Pushti-Kiih and the dependen- 
cies are not included in this arrangement, but have a separate 
amount of revenue assigned to them. 

The valuation of the Katir varies, as with the Bakhtiyaris, ac- 
cording to the state of the province ; but under the late Wazir, 
Mirza Buzurg/ who administered the revenues with eminent suc- 
cess for about 10 years, it was raised to the rate of 200 old T6- 
mans, or 333^ of the present currency; the 120 Katirs were 
therefore equivalent to 40,000 Tomans, and the amount annually 
realised from Pish-kuh alone rather exceeded than fell short of this 
sum. The following table exhibits the classification of the tribes, 
and the revenue system, as observed by Mirza Buzurg. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 



107 






i™ 






• 3> 

o g< 

Sag 



12,2 

00 fl » 

oi eS "d 



o ni 4) 

O ^M 
'5 "o 






• o g a ^ 

• > g slag * 

" " U <D ® O^ 

l *|S a ga 

> £ ,d ,d oi > fl 



3 1432 
.sis a g 

M -d^ § 

Si £-£ 



d M * S 

«^- r *" < ** *■< "S 

■*: <w a u « 



~~M d 

•d.g'O o 

o .K *d 



3,3 



5 3 
*1 



S =i 



c« rQ 



111 

S2-3 



d 



fl 9x5 ^ rt d 



Jo3 ! < 



ffiSS 05OH £<» 






£■3 

k 3.£J 






s|S2 

gill 



s&a 

%<% fl 
.SSiS ° 

sS>. 
o a « 

W tS rd 

-d aJ"d 

«|§ 

2 2 fl * 
S «43 

■ ft*S 

"Cd, « 
.d-d a g 



3^ 

«3 



e^3 



T3 15 



S^P 



3 § S 

•^ s 

^ i . 

r= "rQ p4 



^, do 

« 9 

5*2 

^ > 






(M <M O O O O <_ 

r ^^ r ^^yn io cm -i © 

oooo 
o oo o 



^3 

"a 



o 






H 



'Sal 



d g 



3 d 

4S sjs 



III 

S-5 d 



«o a- 






1 

-dv. 






la^OQ 



3 S * S 

3 & d ^ 

8 v S vas ,.c8 

2 d • «» "S 
5 flO 



tj' s 
3 d a 

v ca*c« d 
PP3cc 



s 

Q 



s 



•3 

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< 



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0!3 

5 o> 



tfl 









'ssTOuapuadad 






108 



Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 



The sum realised from the tribes thus amounted to 60,500 
Tomans ; but the government possessed another source of revenue 
in the town of Khorram-abad and the crown-lands scattered over 
the province, according to the following list : — 



Names of Districts. 


Taxation 

in 
Money. 


Taxation 

in 

Grain. 


Remarks. 


C Revenues of 
Khorram-abad <[ town . . 

[crown-lands 

SeVmarrah 

Jaidar 

Alishtar 

Kuh-dasht 

Terhan 

KirA'b 


Tomans. 

5000 
2000 
2000 
1000 

230 
500 
100 


Kharwars. 

2000 
2000 

500 
1000 

200 

700 

500 


fThis consists of the rent of 
} shops, gardens, orchards, 
[ mills, and the customs. 


10,800 


6900 



If we reckon the Kharwar of grain at one Toman, which is the 
usual valuation in Luristan, this will give an addition to the revenue 
of 17^700 Tomans, and raise the whole amount which may be 
annually realised from the province to 78,200 Tomans. The sys- 
tem of revenue in Pish-kuh is very simple : when the 1 20 Katirs 
have been duly distributed among the tribes and their subdivisions, 
in a general council, and to the satisfaction of all, each subdivision 
determines the amount of share to be paid by the different camps 
of which it is composed, and then the Rish Safid* of each encamp- 
ment collects from the different families under his rule, according 
to his knowledge of their individual ability to contribute. But in 
a wild country like this,, where many of the tribes live in a state 
of open rebellion, and will not attend to the distribution appor- 
tioned by the general council, the governor would certainly fail in 
his contract with the crown, unless he had indirect means of raising 
an extraordinary revenue to make up for the many defalcations. 
Mirza Buzurg, therefore, introduced an extensive system of fees 
and fines ; and, where robberies and murder were of almost daily 
occurrence, he did not want opportunities of exaction : indeed, 
he is said to have realised about 20,000 Tomans annually in this 
manner, and that, too, without cruelty or injustice. 

Luri-Kuchuk is far more capable of sustaining a heavy taxation 
than the Bakhtiyaris, for, though agriculture is equally neglected, 

* Literally, < { grey-beard," the head of each petty encampment. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. 109 

it has other valuable sources of profit. The principal of these is 
its breed of mules,, which are esteemed by far the best in Persia. 
It certainly exports on an average 1000 of these animals annually ; 
and, taking the mean price at 20 Tomans, this alone will give a 
sum of 20,000 Tomans of yearly produce. The Iliyat drive a 
considerable traffic, also, in carpets, hurs, or packing-bags, and all 
descriptions of horse -furniture : they exclusively supply the towns 
of Hamadan, Nihawand, and Burujird with charcoal, and their 
flocks and herds likewise afford them a considerable profit. 

The great tribes of Pish-kuh, as I have already mentioned, have 
no single chief like the Bakhtiyaris ; neither, indeed, have the 
subdivisions in general : some four or five Tushmals are usually as- 
sociated in the government of every subdivision ; and on great occa- 
sions all these Tuslimals meet as equals, and consult ; so that their 
internal constitution, which I believe to be very uncommon among 
the clan nations of Asia, more nearly assimilates to the spirit of a 
confederated republic than of a great feudal aristocracy. The 
Wall of Pushti-Kuh, alone retains the kingly power of his ances- 
tors. Among the Lurs most of the offices of labour are per- 
formed by the women : they tend the flocks, till the fields, store 
the grain, and tread out that which is required for use. The men 
content themselves with sowing and reaping, cutting wood for 
charcoal, and defending their property against the attacks of others. 
The carpets, the black goats' -hair tents, and the horse-furniture, 
for which Luristan is famous, are almost all the work of the women. 
The men seem to consider robbery and war their proper occupa- 
tion, and are never so well pleased as when engaged on a foray. 

The language of the Lurs differs but slightly from that of the 
Kurds of Kirmanshah, and a person conversant with one dialect 
will perfectly understand the other. These dialects of the moun- 
taineers of Zagros have been hitherto assumed by all writers as 
remnants of the ancient Pehlevi; but it appears to me on insuf- 
ficient grounds : I regard them as derived from the old Farsf, the 
Farsi-Kadim, as it is called; which was a co-existent, but per- 
fectly distinct language from the Pehlevi, in the age of the Sasa- 
nian monarchs : certainly the Pehlevi, as we read it at the pre- 
sent day, upon inscriptions and in books, does not possess any 
analogy with the Kurdish, and I doubt if any dialect of it now 
exists as a spoken language, except among the Gabr colonies, and 
in a few detached villages of Azerbaijan.* 

The religion of the tribes of Luri-Kuchuk is very curious, 
and well merits to be attentively observed ; for, though the foun- 
dation of all 'All Ilahism is the same, consisting in the belief of a 

* In the village of Dizmar, in particular, the vernacular dialect is certainly 
Pehlevi, 



110 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

series of successive incarnations, yet they have superinduced a 
number of local superstitions, apparently of remote antiquity. 
The Lurs do not affect the slightest veneration for Mohammed 
and the Kor£n ; their only general object of worship is their great 
saint Baba* Buzurg; but there are also several holy men amongst 
them, who are considered the living representatives of the divine 
principle, and who are thus regarded, by their particular disci- 
ples, with a reverence little short of adoration. Their sacrifices 
and their mystical meetings form a subject of much interest ; for 
many of their observances are certainly to be traced to a source 
long anterior to the institution of Mohammedanism. Macdonald 
Kinneir has noticed the midnight orgies of the Charagh Kushan.* 
I do not believe that any such rites are observed at the present 
day, but meetings of this nature were certainly held until within 
the last half-century ; and there cannot be a doubt but that we may 
recognise in them a relic of the worship of the principles of ge- 
neration and fecundity, which had descended through the orgies 
of Mithra and Anaitis, from the time when Sesostris erected the 
emblems of the sexual organsf as objects of adoration, and Semi- 
ramis, delivering herself to indiscriminate pleasure, doubtless 
intended to fulfil a religious ceremony.^ I now bid adieu to 
Luristan and the Lurs, as my space will not admit of any fuller 
remarks on this unknown and interesting people, and I proceed 
shortly to notice the remainder of my journey to Kirmanshah. 

The village of Harsin is distant 2 farsakhs from the fron- 
tiers of Luristan, at the foot of a long but open pass, which 
conducts from the high lands adjoining the plain of Khawah. 
The village, containing 300 houses, is situated in a well-watered 
and well- cultivated valley, which, being Khalisah, or crown-land, 
is farmed for 3000 tomans annually ; there are here some 
Sasanian remains, which I believe have never been described. 
The fort in the village is built upon the site of a palace, ap- 
parently left unfinished; the foundations, composed of massive 
blocks of hewn stone, are still in tolerable preservation ; several 
broken pillars and plain capitals are strewn about, and the 
remains of an aqueduct are also visible. This aqueduct, 
derived from the spring-head of the river, distant about half a 
mile, was formed entirely of large blocks of hewn stone, cemented 
closely together, and enclosing the channel for the water ; within 
the palace it was raised again to its original elevation, forming a 
prolonged syphon from the river -head, and thus affording a rather 
curious specimen of the superiority of the hydraulic skill of 

* " The putters out of lights " — literally, lamp-breakers, 
f Diod. Sic, book i. chap. iv. Herod., book ii. chap. cii. cvi. 
X Diod, Sic* ; book ii. chap. i. 



March from Zohdb to Khuzistdn. Ill 

Persia in those days over the present works of the same class, 
which are most imperfectly understood. At the spring-head a 
large surface of rock has been smoothened, preparatory to the 
sculpture of tablets, but I could not perceive that any design had 
been actually commenced; in front of this also a reservoir has 
been excavated in the solid rock, and at a short distance is seen an 
immense oblong slab of stone 12 feet high, 6 feet in width, and 
1 \ in thickness, which has been pierced by an arched doorway 8 
feet high, and 4 broad, and which was probably intended for the 
gate of the palace ; near the spring there are a great number of 
hewn blocks of stone scattered about, intermingled with the ruins 
of the aqueduct, with broken shafts, and with some bases and 
capitals. The Sasanian ruins in this district of Bisutun are of a 
perfectly distinct character from those of the same age that are 
met with in other parts of Persia. The buildings were evidently 
erected after a Grecian model ; they were formed of huge blocks 
of hewn stone, and were adorned with bases, shafts, and capitals, 
according to the prescribed rules of architecture. I see no 
reason, therefore, to doubt the tradition which ascribes them to 
the age of Khusraii Parviz, when that monarch returned victo- 
rious from his Syrian campaign, and brought with him a great 
number of Grecian artisans, whom he afterwards retained in his 
service. 

May 27th. — I marched 9 farsakhs to Kirmanshah; after 
crossing a rocky range of hills for 2 farsakhs, the road descended 
to the vailed of the Gamasab river; the ford upon the direct 
road to Kirmanshah was not practicable, and we were obliged, 
therefore, to proceed one farsakh up the river to Bisutun, where 
with some difficulty we at length managed to effect a passage. 
In the plain upon the left bank of the river there are some more 
Sasanian antiquities, which I examined upon another occasion. 
At a spot called Takhti-Shirin, distant about one farsakh from the 
ford, there are the ruins of a palace, or fire-temple ; a confused 
mass of broken pillars and large blocks of stone are scattered 
about on the surface of a large mound, which seems to have been 
formed of the debris of the edifice ; a plain slab of white stone, 8 
feet in length and 5 in breadth, lies amid the ruins, but on the 
side exposed to view it presents no inscription or sculpture 
whatever. The Kurds, indeed, believe that there is a telism,* as 
they call it, on the other side, but I never met with any one 
who had seen it ; and it would be a work of some labour to dig out 
the slab, now half imbedded in the soil, and turn it over, so as to 
expose its lower face. Half a farsakh beyond the Takhti-Shirin 
is the village of Sermaj, at the foot of the Kuhi-Harsin, on its 

* Almost every inscription or sculpture is called by the Kurds a telism, or talisman, 



112 Major Rawlinson's Notes on a 

northern face,, where there are ruins of the same appearance as 
those at Harsin, but of less extent ; a modern mud fort has been 
built upon the site of the chief edifice, and the hovels around it 
conceal the greater part of the ruins. Opposite to the great 
rock of Bisutun are the ruins of a Sasanian bridge, across the 
river of Gamasab, of which the buttresses now alone remain ; it 
is named the Puli-Khusrau, and seems to have been built at the 
same time as the palaces in the neighbourhood. The appearance 
of the antiquities of Bisutun itself has been described by many 
writers on Persia, and I need only occupy myself, therefore, with 
its comparative geography. D'Anville, I believe, first suggested 
the identity of this place with the Baghistane of the Greeks ; and, 
although this has been sometimes disputed, I shall endeavour to 
show such evidence as must prove the truth of his position. 

We have three ancient notices of Baghistane : one where 
Diodorus copies the account which Ctesias gave of the arrival of 
Semiramis at this place, on her march from Babylon to Ecba- 
tana ; * the second occurring in the march of Alexander, by the 
circuitous track of Mah-Sabadan, from Susa to Ecbatana, described 
by the same author; f and the third, in the itinerary of Isidore of 
Charax, where he mentions the city of Bap tana, situated in the 
district of Cambadene, between Carine and Concobar, on the 
high road from Babylonia to Media. J If we assume the identi- 
fication of the Ecbatana of Media Magna with Hamadan (and, in 
spite of the objections raised against this illustration, it is, I 
believe, to be demonstratively proved,) these three geographical 
indications will unite to verify the position of Baghistane at 
Bisutun. Semiramis traversed Bisuttin in her way to Chaone, or 
Kangawar, where she instituted the worship of the generative 
principle, and erected the magnificent palace, which, in the days 
of Isidore of Charax, had been converted to a temple of Anaitis, 
and of which the ruins still exist. Alexander, also, from Celonse 
(Sarwan, or Keilun) pursued the route through the plains to the 
foot of Zagros, and, there joining the Babylonian high road, 
proceeded along it to Bisutun, from whence he visited the horse- 
pastures of Khawah and Alishtar. But the evidence of Isidore is 
the most distinct ; I have been able to verify every position, almost 
every mile of measurement, in his itinerary, from Seleucia to 
Apobatane, or Hamadan. His Carine is, of course, Kirind, and 
his Concobar, Kangawar ; and between these intervenes Baptana, 
or Bisutun. The name of Cambadene, applying to the district, 
is also to be illustrated, for the tract of country adjoining Bisutun, 



* Diod Sic, book ii. chap. 1. f Book XYii, chap. Jl, 

I Isidore, in Hudson, vol, ii. p, 6. 



March from Zohab to Khiizistan. 113 

on the left bank of the Gam&sab, retains to the present day the 
title of Cham a bat an.* 

Etymologically considered, the coincidence is even more 
striking. Baghistan signifies the place of gardens; and the 
name appears to have been given from the famous pleasure- 
grounds, ascribed traditionally to Semiramis. Bdstan has the 
same signification, and is only a contraction of the former word ; 
and the great range of mountains, bounding the plain of Kir- 
manshah, and called in the geographers Jabali- Bisutun, preserve 
in the Taki-Bdstan, at one extremity, the title, which at the other 
has been corrupted into Bisutun. But this name of Bostan 
appears at one time to have been further corrupted into Batan, 
and thus the Baptana of Isidore is Ba Patan (the common con- 
traction for Beth Patan), signifying the city of Patan, or Batan; 
whilst his Cambadene, also, is Cham Batan, the river of Batan, 
which, with a different explanation | for the word Batan, is uni- 
versally allowed by the Kurds to be the derivation of the title of 
the district. 

The descriptive evidence now remains. The precipitous rock, 
1 7 stadia high, facing the garden, the large spring gushing out 
from the foot of the precipice and watering the adjoining plain, 
and the smoothening of the lower part of the rock, all convey an 
accurate idea of the present appearance of Bisutun ; but what are. 
we to say of the sculptures of Semiramis, and the inscription in 
Syriac characters ? There are only two tablets at Bisutun, — the 
one now nearly destroyed, which contains a mutilated Greek 
inscription, declaring it to be the work of Gotarzes ; the other a 
Persepolitan sculpture, which is adorned with nearly 1000 lines 
of Cuneiform writing, exhibiting the religious vows of Darius 
Hystaspes, after his return from the destruction of Babylon, on 
the revolt of its Udpati, or Governor, Nebukadrazzar, the son of 
Nebunit.J We have no reason to suppose that either of these 
can represent the sculptures ascribed to Semiramis ; for Ctesias, 
a Greek, could not possibly have misunderstood the Grecian 
tablet, even supposing that it existed in his time, which is 
scarcely probable ; and, as he lived at the. court of Artaxerxes 
Mnemon, it is not likely that, in the space of a century after the 

* The Greeks having no soft ck were obliged to employ k; d and t were used 
indifferently in the old Persian; and we find the Greek wn answering in most 
names to the -modern termination in an, as Ardekdn for Articene, Mdsabaddn for 
Mesobatene, Khdwardn for Ckoarene, &c. 

f They pretend that Cham Batan means " the river of ducks," but it is more 
probable that Batan is a proper name. 

I Nebunit is, of course, the Labynet of Herodotus and the Nabonid of the canon 
of Ptolemy ; but we are not informed in history of the name of this monarch's son, 
who revolted against Darius Hystaspes. 

VOL. IX. I 



114 Major Rawlins on \s Notes on the 

death of Darius Hystaspes, the proud memorial of that monarch 
should have been transferred to the remote ages of Semiramis. 
Yet Isidore also mentions the statue and pillar of Semiramis,, at 
Baptana : and J am inclined,, therefore,, to solve all difficulties,, by 
supposing that this sculpture did really exist upon the lower part 
of the rock, which was scarped by the Assyrian Queen ; and that 
Khusraii Parviz, when he was preparing to form of this long 
scarped surface the back wall of his palace, and for that purpose 
began to excavate deeper into the mountain, destroyed the 
sculptures, and removed all further trace of them. With regard 
to the pillar of Semiramis, it is not a little curious also that an 
Oriental writer of the 13th century* should describe the rock of 
Bisutun, from his own observation, as though it were sculptured 
into the form of a minarah or minaret. There is certainly, at 
present, nothing resembling what we should call a pillar or 
minaret ; but whether a pillar did at one time really exist, or 
whether the name was improperly applied to the mere smoothing 
of the rock, there is every probability that the srikw of Isidore, 
and the mendrah of Zakariya Kazvinf, refer to the same 
object. 

That the ruined buildings at Bisutun are of the Sasanian age is 
proved by a capital, sculptured in its peculiar style, as well as 
by some words in the Zand character engraved on several of the 
blocks of stone ; and it is on this account that I ascribe to the 
same era all the remains of a similar class which are met with in 
the neighbourhood. 

I must now mention the Greek inscription of Gotarzes ; and 
this is so difficult a subject that I shall not pretend to decide 
on its illustration. The mutilated tablet of colossal figures is 
well known, from the descriptions of former travellers; but they 
do not seem to have paid much attention to the inscription : the 
only words that can be now made out are — AA^AZATHZ 
MI0PATHZnEr\ and then, after an interval, nQTAPZHC- 
ZATPAI1HZ TUNZATPAFI, where the inscription is broken 
off: the words rXlTAPZHC TEOnOGPOZ are also found 
in a corner of the tablet. Now Geopothr is certainly the Zand 
compound Givputr, the son of Giv ; and we thus recognise the 
name, famous in Oriental tradition, of Gudarz Ibn Giv ; but who 
this Gudarz Ibn Giv may be, it is not easy to say. There are 
two personages of the name of Gudarz to whom the tablet may 
possibly relate ; and I shall briefly state the claims of one and 
the other. The Gudarz of Persian fable was a celebrated 



* Zukatiya Kazvini, in his two works, the Atharu-l-Buld&n and 'Ajjayibu-l- 
Makhhttat. 



March from Zohab to Khuzistdn. 1 15 

general during the reigns of Kai K&us, and Kai Khusrau. He 
is better known as the father of Giv than as his son ; but still I 
have in one work found him expressly called Gudarz Ibn Giv ; * 
and such is the name which is always applied to him among the 
I'liyat of Kirmanshdh, where traditions regarding him abound. 
The Alphasates of the inscription (I and r being used indifferently 
in old Persian) would seem to be the same name as the Ar- 
phaxad of the Apocrypha, and the Arfah-zad of the Persians, 
who is considered identical with Kai Kaus; and the name 
belongs therefore to a high antiquity. The tablet also, to all 
appearance, is far more ancient than the sculptures upon the same 
rock which date from the age of Darius Hystaspes. Against all 
this it is urged that we have no evidence whatever of the ex- 
istence of such a hero but Persian fable and tradition ; and how a 
Greek inscription should have found its way into Persia, anterior 
to, or at least coeval with, the elder Cyrus, it is most difficult 
to conceive. There are three letters also made use of in the 
inscription, Z, H, and 12, which are supposed to have been 
introduced into Greece by Simonides about 500 B.C., and 
it is barely possible, therefore, that they could have been em- 
ployed in Persia to commemorate this general of the Kaianian 
monarchs. 

The second Gudarz, to whom the inscription also may relate, 
is the Arsacide Gotarzes. Josephus declares this king to have 
been the son of Artabanus,*)- the founder of the lower Arsacide 
dynasty; but Tacitus, who is better authority, makes him his 
brother,^ and does not mention the father's name, which thus 
may possibly have been Giv ; and indeed this may be the very 
personage whose exploits have been removed by the Persians to 
the fabulous ages of Kai Khusrau. Gotarzes, the Arsacide, as 
I have already shown, appears to have fought his great battle 
with Meherdates in this plain, intervening between Bisutun and 
Kirmanshah; and indeed the very name Mithrates may possibly 
be the same as the Meherdates of Tacitus, though, as the one 
name is pure Persian,§ and the other corrupted, this is hardly 
probable : and, lastly, though I have very little experience in 
Greek inscriptions, yet the alphabet employed appears to me to 
be far more conformable to the age of Claudius than to the 
remote period of Cyrus. The arguments against this illustration 
are, that the Arsacide Gotarzes is never named Ibn Giv in the 
Oriental histories; that, as the great king of Parthia, he would 



* In the Sharaf Namah. 

f Josephus, Ant., book xx. c. iii. s. 4. J Ann., book xi. c. viii. 

§ Mihrdad, given by Mihr, Mithra, or the sun. 

l 2 



116 Major RawlinsonV Notes, 8fc. 

hardly have taken the inferior title of Satrap of Satraps ; and, 
lastly, that it is impossible for any one, looking at the two tablets 
together, to believe the Greek one to be five centuries posterior 
to the other. Perhaps, after all, Gudarz Ibn Giv may have been 
neither the one nor the other of these heroes, but a mere pro- 
vincial governor, who attained some local celebrity ; and I believe 
that there is a satrap of the name of Gotarzes mentioned by the 
historians of Alexander, though I cannot now refer to the parti- 
cular passage. At any rate, however, from the great celebrity 
of the first Gudarz in Persian romance, the history of this inscrip- 
tion must be an object of interest equally to the oriental and 
classical scholar. 

The distance from Bi'sutun to Kirmanshah is 6 farsakhs, the 
direction being due W. At 2 farsakhs from Bi'sutun are found 
the remains of another palace, which I suppose to have been 
Sasanian : some eight or nine bases and capitals, scattered over 
the plain, are all that are now to be seen ; but the space between 
the first of these ruins and the last is about 300 paces, and if they 
belonged therefore to the same building, which is probable from 
the appearance of the intervening ground, it must have been of 
very great extent. 

The Taki-Bostan, of which accurate drawings have been pub- 
lished, is about 1| farsakh to the right of the road. The sculp- 
ture at this place is the finest in Persia, and is evidently the work 
of Grecian artists. The Pehlevi inscriptions have been deci- 
phered by De Sacy,* and for the last forty-five years his trans- 
lations have been allowed to stand unimpeached. Owing to the 
faulty copies., however, which he inspected, he has made many 
mistakes : four or five words in each inscription are erroneously 
rendered, and in one he has actually mistaken the name of the 
king in whose honour the inscription was engraven. The left- 
hand inscription he concludes correctly to relate to Shapur Dliu-1- 
aktaf ; but the other, which he attributes to Bahrain Kirman- 
shah, refers in reality to his brother Shapur. j- 

I hope, on some future occasion, to give to the public a more 
detailed account of the antiquities of this part of Persia than I 
have been able to embody in this hasty abstract. 

* Ant. de la Perse, p. 243. 
f He has mistaken the name Shahpuhri for Varahran. 




I'uh! /!•/■ th,- Journal of Hit Royal Geographical Society, 1$ John Mtimnv./Uinnuiih S. London 1859. 




firh'f />'•/• thr Journal af-Bu, Royal Geo^rapbaml Society, Try John Miirnn-.J/hctnnr/r S 



L, m Jon 1839.